We have seen that the penalty of sin is death. We have also seen that the effects of sin cannot be limited to the individual, but must include in their scope, the social and racial consequences as well. It is to these consequences that theology applies the terms Original Sin or Inherited Depravity. Following our usual procedure, we shall first examine the Scriptures themselves in order to establish the fact of human depravity; and from the facts thus gained, we shall attempt to construct a doctrine which will be in harmony with both the Scriptures and human experience. Two questions immediately arise. First, do these consequences attach to Adam as the federal head, or official representative of the race or are they to be regarded simply as the natural consequences of the race's connection with Adam? Second, in what sense are these consequences to be viewed as
[Mr. Wesley's treatise on Original Sin has been characterized as one of the most faithful and stern reflections of the scriptural doctrine that our language contains. His sermon on "Sin in Believers" is equally true to the facts of Christian experience. The latter was the result of his conflict with Moravianism. When he emerged from his maze of doubts and perplexities, he made a declaration of the following principles as summarized by Harrison. "Although the soul begins a new life at the hour of conversion, there remains not only the capacity for, but a tendency to, sin. The old Adam of active sin, of resistance to God and antagonism to holiness, is gone - buried with Christ by the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit. But the Adamic fall is more than the ordering of a life, and the new birth is more than a change from one set of motives to another. After we have passed from death unto life, we are conscious that there remains a diseased moral nature whose allies are flesh and blood; and though these are conquered, they are not annihilated by the change which makes us children of God....The sagacious mind of Mr. Wesley analyzed his own experience, and finding himself not actually free from the warfare between good and evil, he searched the scriptures, and was led thereby into the deep things of God. The aspirations of his soul for the higher life were accentuated by the doubts into which he had fallen; and when he once more threw himself upon the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, the Spirit of power and love and of a good conscience, undefiled manifested itself to him, and once more he was clothed with the spirit of rejoicing, having the peace that the world cannot give and cannot take away." - HARRISON, Wesleyan Standards, I, pp. 256, 257.]
sin, and in what sense as inherited depravity? Since the term Original Sin seems to furnish a more direct connection with the subject discussed in the previous chapter, we shall examine the Scriptures which treat, (1) of Original Sin; and (2) of Inherited Depravity.
Original Sin. The Scriptures teach that the presence of death in the world, with all its attendant evils, is due to man's sin. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come....For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (Rom. 5: 12-14, 17, 18). Here it is clearly taught that before of Adam, there was neither sin nor death after his fall there were both, and these are regarded as the direct consequences of sin. It seems clear also from this statement, that natural evil is the consequence of moral evil for death is by sin. The apostle further declares, that death as a consequence of sin passed upon all men, that is, through racial propagation. Hence original sin and inherited depravity seem to be separated in thought only, but identified in fact. The propagation of the race from Adam was therefore not only in his physical likeness but also in his moral image. As if anticipating the error that Adam S sin constituted all men transgressors, he added the words, ""for that all have sinned."(By the apostle's own admission, however, death reigned even over those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, that is, by overt act of disobedience. Hence if the penalty of death was imputed to all men, because all had sinned, then this sin must have been a state of the heart, that is, a depraved nature. This is confirmed bye such scriptures as Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1: 29); and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).
Inherited Depravity. Not only are all men born under the penalty of death, as a consequence of Adam's sin, but they are born with a depraved nature also, which m contradistinction to the legal aspect of penalty, is generally termed inbred sin or inherited depravity. This is defined in the language of the creed as ""that corruption of the nature of all the offspring of Adam, by reason of which every one is very far gone from original righteousness" (Article V). We are now concerned, however, only with the scriptural teaching on this subject.
The Scriptures assert that man is born in a state of spiritual death; and while full provision is made for remitting the guilt and condemnation for which man is not directly responsible, it still remains that he is liable for the consequences of this sin. We make this statement in order to show the actual condition of man apart from the mitigating influences of divine grace. The first scripture which indicates the inherited depravity of man's nature is found in Genesis 5:3, where it is stated that Adam . . . begat a son in his own likeness. (Here a distinction is made between the likeness of God, and Adam's own likeness in which his son was begotten. Another scripture of similar import is found in Genesis 8:21 where it is said that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. Since this word was spoken when there were no other human beings on earth except righteous Noah and his family, it must refer to the hereditary tendency of men toward evil. Closely related to these texts are the words of Job, Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one (Job 14:4). Here again it is clearly indicated that the human race is defiled or polluted by sin, and hence every one born of the race is defiled. This is definitely stated by the psalmist as follows: The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm14:2,3). This scripture is later used by St. Paul as indicating a universally depraved state of mankind. Two other passages from the Psalms may be used as proof texts. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5); and The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies (Psalm 58:3). The word iniquity as used here, cannot under any circumstances refer to actual sin, but carries with it the thought of a perverted or twisted nature from the very inception of life. The second verse carries the thought still farther as an estrangement or alienation from God. Since this estrangement is from birth, it must be regarded, not as acquired but as inherited depravity. The Prophet Jeremiah declared that The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9). Here the strongest of terms is used to express the natural depravity of the human heart.
The New Testament references to the morally depraved character of the human race are numerous, but we need give here only a few of the stronger proof texts. Our Lord said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:20-23). Here our Lord clearly affirms that these evil traits come from within, that is, they have their original source in the natural heart of man. Again He says, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:5,6). Here the word flesh refers not only to the physical condition of mankind as born into the world, but implies also that his moral condition is such, that it becomes the ground of necessity for a new or spiritual birth) These words of our Lord are sufficient evidence of the morally depraved state of the natural man, and to the Christian there can be no higher authority. St. Paul uses the term flesh perhaps more than any other New Testament writer; and as he uses it, the term refers to the depraved nature of man - especially to the propagation of a corrupted nature. We can give only a few of these references. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh (Rom 8:5); So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:8) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit (Rom 8:9); If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die (Rom. 8:13) They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). The outstanding passage, however, in this connection, is that from which the Church has derived the term ""Indwelling Sin." Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing (Rom. 7:17, 18). All of these terms show that the bias to sin belongs to fallen human nature as such. The term flesh as here used, is representative of the fallen estate of mankind generally - not the destruction of any of its essential elements, but the deprivation of its original spiritual life, and hence the depravation of its tendency.
The doctrine of man's depravity rests upon the solid foundation of Scripture and the universal testimony of human experience. It is implied both in the penalty of the Adamic law and in the natural relation which Adam sustained to his posterity. The doctrine has never been seriously denied in the Church, except by the Pelagians and the Socinians. Mr. Wesley attached great importance to this fundamental belief. He says, ""All who deny this (call it original sin or any other title) are but heathens still, in the fundamental point which distinguishes heathenism from Christianity. But here is our Shibboleth; Is man by nature filled with all evil? Is he wholly fallen? Is his soul totally corrupted? Or, to come back to the text, is every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually? Allow this and you are so far a Christian. Deny it and you are but a heathen still" (Wersley, Sermon on Original Sin). It will serve the purpose of better presenting this important doctrine, if we first make a brief survey of the various views which have been held in the Church, setting them forth in broad outline. Following this we shall indicate the finer distinctions which have served to guard the scriptural position.
The Early Christian Church. As with many other of the important doctrines of the Church, this fundamental truth was not questioned, and hence the early Church had no clearly defined doctrine of original sin. However, there soon appeared here and there, those variations which proved in their later developments, to be the germs of widely different systems of theology. The universality of sin was recognized from the beginning. Justin (A.D. 165) says, "Every race knows that adultery, and murder, and such like are sinful: and though they all commit such practices, they cannot escape from the knowledge that they act unrighteously whenever they do so." As to the proper explanation of this universality of sin, Justin appears to be uncertain. He speaks at one time of the ""human race, which from Adam, had fallen under the power of death and the guile of the serpent, and each one of which has committed personal transgression"; but at another time, he says of the posterity of Adam, that ""they becoming like
[The early Christian Church exhibits the truth as it has been educed from the Scripture, but with the germ of every subsequent error here and there appearing. Before the Pelagian heresy the Greek and Latin fathers generally held the Vitium Originis, as Tertullian first called it, but laid stress upon the co-operation of the human will enlightened by teaching and grace. The Latins were still more decided as to both. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p.74.
Tertullian (200) laid down the theory of natural depravity, which seems closely connected with his views about the traduction of souls. He is generally looked upon as the author of the doctrine of "Original Sin," which he formulates as follows: "There is, besides the evil which comes on the soul from the intervention of the evil spirits, an antecedent, and in some sense natural, evil which arises from its corrupt origin." This doctrine was afterward elaborated by Cyprian and Augustine, and gave rise to much angry controversy. - Crippen, Hist., Chr. Doct., p. 90.]
Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves." Clement appears to have held the position which later came to be known as Pelagianism. He repudiates the idea of any hereditary taint. The later Greek theologians who generally follow Origen, took the same position. They maintained that original sin was merely physical corruption, and therefore could not be regarded as truly culpable. Sin, therefore, had no origin in Adam, but only in the human will. Thus Cyril says of original sin, that ""when we come into the world we are sinless, but now we sin from choice." Chrysostom held a similar position. We may say, therefore, that in general, the Eastern Church regarded original sin as attaching only to the physical and sensuous nature and not to the voluntary and rational. Hence original sin was displaced by a belief in original evil.
The Pelagian Controversy. The controversy between Pelagius and Augustine was in reality, the focusing of two great systems of theology in their opposition to each other - the East and the West. Pelagius placed extreme emphasis upon the self-determination of the individual to good or evil, and denied that Adam's sin affected anyone but himself. Hence he denied inherited depravity or racial sin of any sort. The descendants of Adam were born in the same condition in which Adam was created, and like him, sinned by direct transgression. The prevalence
[The seven points of Pelagianism as given by Wiggers are as follows: (1) Adam was created mortal, so that he would have died even if he had not sinned; (2) Adam's sin injured, not the human race, but only himself; (3) newborn infants are in the same condition as Adam before the fall; (4) the whole human race neither dies on account of Adam's sin, nor rises on account of Christ's resurrection; (5) infants, even though not baptized, attain eternal life; (6) the law is as good a means of salvation as the gospel; and (7) even before Christ some men lived who did not commit sin. (These men were Abel, Enoch, Joseph, Job, and among the heathen, Socrates, Aristides and Numa.) The errors of Pelagianism may be refuted both from the Scriptures and from history. It has been held only sporadically by individuals, and has been regarded in the church as heresy.
Pelagianism as related to the denial of "original sin" and death as the effect of sin, was formally condemned as heretical by the General Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. But this did not settle the controversy. Augustinianism was never fully received in the East, for its divines rejected predestination and held to the doctrine of original sin, side by side with human liberty. In the West, Augustinianism gained favor. Some of the monks of Adrumentum went to the extreme lengths of declaring that God predestinated even the sins of the wicked.]
of sin, he held, was due to wrong example. Augustine on the other hand, emphasized racial sin or depravity to the exclusion of any true individual freedom. He adopted an extreme realism, maintaining that Adam and the race were the one that sinned - all being in Adam when he sinned, and, therefore, all actually sinning in him. This racial sin beginning in Adam was of the nature of concupiscentia or the ascendancy of the flesh over the spirit. This introduced the necessity of sinning; and the nature transmitted to his descendants made them not only depraved, but guilty in themselves as well as Adam. Semi-Pelagianism sought to mediate between the two extremes, by maintaining that original sin was merely vitiosity, or a weakening of the power to will and do. It held that there was sufficient power remaining in the depraved will to initiate or set in motion the beginnings of salvation but not enough to bring it to completion. This must be done by divine grace.
The Medioval Transition. The discussions of the schoolmen were largely transitional, although several applications of the doctrine were developed. The Augustinian idea that the posterity of Adam must be considered guilty as well as depraved, found its logical development in the doctrine of the damnation of infants. Since baptism was regarded as the ground of remission for the guilt of original sin, Gregory applied the principle to the full. He maintained that to the pona damni or loss, was added the pona sensus or conscious suffering, and hence the damnation of all unbaptized infants. Another question which greatly divided the opinions of the schoolmen was that of the immaculate conception of Mary. Some maintained that unless Mary had been free from original sin, Christ would not have been born sinless. They held, therefore, that Mary was prenatally sanctified - the one exception to the universality of sin, original as well as actual. Others held that no one could be made holy without the intervention of the atonement. The subject was one of debate for almost a century. The doctrine of the immaculate conception, however, was made an article of faith in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in 1854. The question as to the origin and transmission of original sin was likewise a matter of debate during this period. Peter Lombard maintained the position of Creationism. He held that God created each individual soul pure, but this immaterial spirit infused into the begotten organism of the body, contracted defilement and became guilty. Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, held to Traducianism as the best explanation of inherited depravity, that is, that Adam's person corrupted the nature; and in his posterity, the nature corrupts the person.
The Tridentine Development. The theologians of the Roman Catholic Church were as definite as the Reformers in their position concerning the penalty of sin. They maintained that the sin of Adam had entailed upon his posterity, not only the consequences of sin, but sin itself. They affirmed also, that free will had been weakened by the fall, but repudiated the idea that the freedom of the will had been extinguished or lost. They were, therefore, semi-Pelagian in their beliefs. The denial of original sin and of the freedom of the will were both alike anathematized by the Council of Trent in 1560 A.D. The peculiarity of the Tridentine doctrine, however, consists in the belief that original righteousness was a superadded gift. This we have previously pointed out in our discussion concerning the image of God in man. The loss of original righteousness, therefore, by the sin of Adam, threw the race back to its original condition
[The dogma defined in the Council of Trent combines the Augustinian Realistic identification of Adam and the race with the semi-Pelagian negative idea of the effect of the fall. Adam created in the image of God, with the endowment of free will, and perfect harmony in the purely natural elements, had the gift of original righteousness added: "conditus in puris naturalibus," he was then "in justitia et sanctitate constitutus." Original righteousness was a supernatural added gift, and the loss of it threw the race back into its created condition of contrariety between flesh and spirit, without the superadded restraint. In baptism the guilt of the original offense which incurred the loss is taken away, and yet the concupiscence that sprang from transgression and leads to transgression remains untaken away, not having, however, itself the essential quality of evil Against this the Reformed Confessions all protested, asserting that concupiscence has in it the nature of sin. For the rest, the Roman theory admits that the natural image has been clouded through the fall; man's whole nature being wounded, and propagated as such. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p. 77.]
of a contrariety between flesh and spirit. From the deprivation of the original gift, concupiscence sprang up, in which the flesh dominated the spirit. The Tridentine doctrine maintains that the guilt which attaches to original sin is taken away by baptism, but the concupiscence remains. This, however, they do not regard as sin. "The concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes denominates sin, the Holy Synod declares the Catholic Church never understood to be called sin because it is really and truly sin in the regenerate, but because it is from sin and inclines to sin." It is admitted, however, that the natural image has been clouded through the fall, and that man's whole nature being wounded, is propagated as such.
The Lutheran Standards. The Lutheran theologians generally recognized two elements in original sin - corruption of the nature of man, and guilt as attaching to this corruption. The Augsburg Confession states that "All men begotten after the common course of nature are born in sin; that is, without the fear of God, without trust in Him, and with fleshly appetite; and this disease or original fault is truly sin, condemning and bringing eternal death now also upon all that are not born again by baptism and the Holy Spirit" (Art. 11). Nothing is said here as to the nature of this imputation, whether mediate or immediate, but the theory necessarily identifies inherited depravity and original sin. Lutheranism has always strongly maintained the moral inability of fallen man. The Formula of Concord (1577) served to check two opposite tendencies the synergists who held that there was a certain co-operation of the human will in the matter of salvation; and the theory of Flacius, that original sin is the very substance of fallen man. Against Lutheran Synergism, the creed affirmed that in
[Melanchthon defined original sin as a corruption of nature flowing from Adam, but held rather to the mediate than to immediate imputation of this sin to the race. He says, "On account of which corruption men are born guilty and children of wrath, that is condemned by God, unless remission is obtained. If anyone wishes to add that men are born guilty by reason of Adam's fall, I do not object." Calixtus among the Lutheran theologians denied that guilt attached to original sin. Both Gerhard and Quensted favored mediate imputation.]
natural things man may do good, but in spiritual things his will is entirely bound; against the theory of Flacius, it maintained that original sin was an accident of human nature, and not of the essence of the human soul. In the language of the schools, original sin is accidens rather than substantia.
The Reformed Confessions. Calvin and the Reformed Churches generally, made no distinction between imputed guilt and inherited depravity. Original sin included both elements - guilt and corruption. The guilt of original sin was explained in various ways; sometimes by the representative mode, or legal headship of Adam; sometimes by the realistic mode, or the virtual existence of the race in Adam; and sometimes by the genetic mode, or the natural headship of the race in Adam. With few exceptions, the reformers accepted the two former positions, that is, they believed that sin was imputed to the race by virtue of the relation which it sustained to Adam as its legal representative; and they held that the race being in Adam when he sinned, it sinned also, and, therefore, became guilty with him in the first sin. After the time of Cocceius (1603-1669), the federal notion took on greater prominence but did not entirely supplant the realistic position. The imputation was, therefore, sometimes regarded as legal and sometimes as moral. Frequently both elements were retained, giving rise to the Placæan Controversy over mediate or immediate imputation. Calvin and the reformers generally held to an immediate or antecedent imputation, which made the sin of Adam as the federal head of the race, the exclusive and prior ground of condemnation. Placæus on the other hand, advanced the theory of a mediate or consequent imputation, which held that condemnation followed and was dependent upon individual corruption as its ground. His doctrine involved the idea of creationism. The soul he maintained, is created immediately by God and as such is pure, but becomes corrupt as soon as it is united with the body. Inbred sin, therefore, according to this theory, is the consequence but not the penalty of Adam's transgression.
Zwingli (1484-1531) differed very materially from the other reformers in his conception of inbred sin, especially in excluding from it the element of guilt. Sin proper he defined as a transgression of the law. Concerning original sin he says, "'Whether we wish it or not, we are compelled to admit that original sin, as it is in the descendants of Adam, is not properly sin, as has already been explained, for it is not a transgression of the law. It is therefore properly a disease and a condition. He holds, indeed, that men are by nature the children of wrath, but he interprets this to mean that men are not actually adjudged guilty, but that naturally we are without the birthright to immortality, just as the children of one who is made a slave inherit a condition of slavery." This conception of inbred sin is essentially the same as that which later was accepted by Arminius.
The Arminian Position. The position of James Arminius (1560-1609) on the question of original sin, differed greatly from that of his followers, especially Limborch (1633-1702) and Curcellæus (1586-1659), who in the controversy with Dort leaned too far toward Pelagianism. For this reason we shall reserve the term ""earlier Arminianism" as applying to the teachings of Arminius himself, and also to those teachings as reaffirmed by John Wesley (1703-1791). The position of the Remonstrants is best known as "'Later Arminianism." In its purest and best forms, Arminianism preserves the truth found in the Reformed teaching without accepting its errors. With the Reformers it holds to the unity of the race in Adam, that ""in Adam all have sinned," and that all men ""are by nature the children of wrath." But over against this, it holds that in Christ, the second Man who is the Lord from heaven, ""the most gracious God has provided for all a remedy for that general evil which was derived to us from Adam, free and gratuitous in His beloved Son Jesus Christ, as it were a new and another Adam. So that the baneful error of those is plainly apparent who are accustomed to found upon that original sin the decree of absolute reprobation invented by themselves." The Apology of the Remonstrants further declares that "there is no ground for the assertion that the sin of Adam was imputed to his posterity in the sense that God actually judged the posterity of Adam to be guilty of and chargeable with the same sin and crime that Adam had committed." "I do not deny that it is sin," said Arminius, ""but it is not actual sin....We must distinguish between actual sin and that which is the cause of other sins, and which on that very account may be denominated sin.
The Wesleyan Doctrine. John Wesley greatly improved the later Arminian position, purging it from its Pelagian elements and putting it upon a more scriptural basis. Wesleyanism, therefore, more nearly approaches the positions of James Arminius himself. It must be recognized, however, that there are certain differences in the teachings of Arminius and those of Wesley. One of these is quite marked. Arminius regarded the ability bestowed upon our depraved nature which enabled it to co-operate with God, as flowing from the justice of God, without which man could not be held accountable for his sins. Wesley on the other hand, regarded this ability as solely a matter of grace, an ability conferred through the free gift of prevenient grace, given to all men as a first benefit of the universal atonement made by Christ for all men. The differences between the Wesleyans and the Remonstrants are thus summed up by Dr. Charles Hodge: "Wesleyanism (1) admits entire moral depravity; (2) denies that any men in this state have any power to co-operate with the grace of God; (3) asserts that the guilt of all through Adam was removed by justification of all through Christ; and (4) ability to co-operate is of the Holy Spirit, through the universal influence of the redemption of Christ" (Hodge, Syst. Th., II, pp.329, 330). Dr. Pope in his theology more nearly follows Wesley and Watson; while Whedon and Raymond
[The order of the decrees in the Arminian system is as follows: (1) to permit the fall of man; (2) to send the Son to be a full satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; (3) on that ground to remit all original sin, and to give such grace as would enable all to attain eternal life; (4) those who improve that grace and persevere to the end are ordained to be saved.]
better represent the type of Arminianism as held by the Remonstrants. Since it is our purpose to more fully present the Arminian position, we need not at this time, give the subject any extended treatment.
Granting that original sin or inherited depravity had its origin in the sin of Adam, we must now consider the manner in which this is transmitted to the individual members of the race, and the character which attaches to it. The theories are generally known as "modes of transmission," or in Calvinistic theology, "theories of imputation." There are three principal theories. First, there is the Realistic Mode, which regards Adam as the natural head of the race, and his posterity as identified with him in the original transgression. Second, there is the Representative Mode, which regards Adam as the legal head of the race, and, therefore, being the legal representative of the race, his sin was imputed to them as their sin. Here the emphasis is upon original sin, rather than upon inherited depravity. Third, there is the Genetic Mode, which is based upon natural headship of Adam, but regards the consequences of his sin, chiefly in the light of inherited depravity instead of original sin.
The Realistic Mode of Transmission. This theory was first advanced by Augustine (354-430), although it appears in germinal form in the writings of Tertullian (d. 220), Hilary (350) and Ambrose (374). For this reason it is commonly known as the Augustinian theory of imputation, or the "theory of Adam's Natural Headship." With the exception of Zwingli (1484-1531), this was the generally accepted theory of the Reformers. As a mode of transmission, realism holds to the solidarity of the race; and as a theory of imputation, it maintains the constituted personal identity of Adam and his posterity. Three forms or degrees of realism are recognized in philosophical and theological thought. (1) Extreme Realism, which holds to a single generic nature in which individuals have no separate existence, but which are regarded as mere modes or manifestations of the one substance. This is pantheism and can have no proper place in the Christian System. (2) Moderate or Higher Realism, which also holds to a single generic nature, but which maintains that this one substance through a process of individualization may become separated into distinct individuals, each of which possesses a portion of the original nature or substance. (3) Lower Realism, which holds to the existence of the entire race in Adam, but only in a germinal manner. It is thus closely related to the genetic mode. The theory, however, identifies Adam's posterity with himself in the one original sin.
1. The Higher Realism is constructed upon the scholastic distinction between genera and species, between nature and the individual. It is the Augustinian theory of "generic existence, generic transgression, and generic condemnation." Dr. Shedd and Dr. Strong are the best modern representatives of this position, although the former is more pronounced in his realism than the latter. Dr. Shedd has given us by far the clearest statement of the realistic mode of transmission. "Human nature," he says, ""is a specific or general substance created in and with the first individuals of the human species, which is not yet individualized, but which by ordinary generation is subdivided into parts, and these parts are formed into distinct and separate individuals
[Dr. Shedd holds that "A species or a specific nature, is that primitive, invisible substance, or plastic principle, which God created from nonentity, as the rudimental matter of which all the individuals of the species are to be composed." "Though an invisible principle," it is "a real entity, nor a mere idea. When God creates a primordial substance which is to be individualized by propagation, that which is created is not a mental abstraction or general term having no objective correspondent. A specific nature has a real existence, not a noumenal." "Realism, then is true within the sphere of the specific, organic, and propagated being: and nominalism is true within that of non-specific, inorganic, and unpropagated being....man as a general conception, denotes not only the collective aggregate of all the individual men that ever exist, but also that primitive human nature of which they are fractional parts, and out of which they have been derived. The individual in this instance, is not the only actual and objective reality. The species is real also. The one human nature in Adam was an entity, as truly as the multitude of individuals produced out of it. The primitive unity 'man' was as objective and real as the final aggregate 'men.' " - SHEDD, Dogmatic Theology, II, pp. 68-71.]
of the race. The one specific substance, by propagation, is metamorphosed into millions of individual substances, or persons. An individual man is a fractional part of a human nature separated from the common mass, and constituted a particular person having all the essential properties of human nature." He quotes Augustine as follows: "God the author of nature, but not of sin (vitium), created man upright, but he having through his own will become depraved and condemned, propagated depraved and condemned offspring. For we were all in that one man, since we were all that one man who lapsed into sin through that woman who was made from him, previous to transgression. The particular form in which we were to live as individuals had not yet been created and assigned to us man by man, but that seminal nature was in existence from which we were to be propagated....All men at that time sinned in Adam, since in his nature all men were as yet that one man." Upon such statements as these, Dr. Shedd builds his own theory. Thus, the total life of mankind was in Adam, since the race as yet had its only being in him. Its essence was not yet individualized, and his will was as yet the will of the species. It was in Adam's free act, that the race revolted from God and became corrupt in its nature. Considered as an essence human nature is intelligent, rational and voluntary; and accordingly, its agency in Adam partakes of the corresponding qualities. Hence generic or
[The question respecting the priority of the universal (the species) and the individual (res) arises here. Whether the universal is prior to the individuals, depends upon what individuals are meant. If the first two individuals of a species are in mind, then the universal, i.e., the species, is not prior, but simultaneous (universale in re). The instant God created the first pair of human individuals, he created the human nature or species in and with them. But if the individuals subsequent to the first pair are in mind, then the universal, i.e., the species is prior to the individuals (universale ante rem). God created the human nature in Adam and Eve before their posterity were produced out of It Accordingly, the doctrine of "universale ante rem" is the true realism, in case "res" denotes the individuals of the posterity. The species as a single nature is created and exists prior to its distribution by propagation. The universal as a species exists before the individuals (res) formed out of it. And the doctrine of "universale in re" is the true realism, in case "res" denotes only the first pair of individuals. The specific nature as created and existing in these two primitive individuals (res) is not prior to them, but simultaneous with them. - Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, II, p. 74.]
original is truly and properly sin because it represents moral agency. ON the realistic ground, therefore, Adam's sin is imputed directly to his posterity, not as something foreign to them, but because all men were in Adam as one moral whole, and all sinned in him. And having sinned in him, human nature at its source was corrupted and all became partakers of the one corrupt nature. Not merely that we inherit the same kind of nature, but that identical corrupted nature is individualized in us, so that by virtue of our own sin we have all corrupted ourselves. There is then, on the Augustinian ground of realism, a threefold imputation - the original act of sin; the corrupt nature as a consequence of that act; and eternal death as the penalty for both the act and the depraved nature.
The objections usually raised to this theory may be summarized briefly as follows: (1) The assumption of a generic nature is without ground in either philosophy or the Scriptures. Realism never has been fully accepted as a philosophical theory, and has generally found its logical issue in the higher forms of pantheistic monism. (2) If the whole generic nature were personalized in Adam, endowed with and capable of free moral agency, it must have existed in the unity of spiritual essence and personality. If the unity of personality be allowed, it is
[Dr. Charles Hodge, the chief representative of the Federal Theory, raises strong objections to this theory. These may be summarized as follows: (1) Realism is a mere hypothesis; (2) It has no support from the Scriptures; (3) It has no support from the consciousness of men, but contradicts the teachings of consciousness as interpreted by the vast majority of our race. Every man is revealed to himself as an individual substance. (4) Realism contradicts the doctrine of the Scriptures in so far as it is irreconcilable with the Scripture doctrine of the separate existence of the soul. (5) It subverts the doctrine of the Trinity in so far that it makes the Father, Son and Spirit one God only in the sense in which all men are one man. The answers which the Trinitarian realists give to this objection are unsatisfactory, because they assume the divisibility, and consequently the materiality of Spirit. (6) It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the realistic theory with the sinlessness of Christ. If the one numerical essence of humanity nature have been free from sin if he took upon Him the same numerical essence which sinned in Adam. (7) The above objections are theological or scriptural; others of a philosophical character have availed to banish the doctrine of realism from all modern schools of philosophy, except so far as it has been merged in the higher forms of pantheistic monism.-Hodge, Systematic Theology, II, pp. 221,222.]
hardly conceivable that is should be regarded as divisible and distributable. (3) Sin can be predicted of persons only. If in Adam "we sinned all," then there must have existed in him, not the unitary essence of a single personality, but an aggregate of individuals, which no one allows. The general objection to the realistic mode as we see it, is that is appears to be a strained accounted for on other grounds.
2. The Lower Realism differs from the higher in that it does not hold to the numerical unity of the generic nature, but is based upon the principle of the germinal existence of the race in Adam. In harmony with the higher realism, however, it maintains the common participation of the race in Adam's sin. The most frequent illustration of this relation is that which exists between the root and the branches of a tree, or between the head and the members of the body. John Owen (1616-1685) who with Richard Baxter and Thomas Ridgely, represented the intermediate group which attempted to reconcile the Realists and Federalists, gives us the following explanation: "We say that Adam, being the root and head of all human kind, and we all the branches from that root, all parts of that body, whereof he was the head, his will may said to be ours. We were then all that one man-we were all in him, and had no other will but his; so that though that be extrisic unto us, considered as particular persons, yet it is intrinsical, as we are all parts of one common nature. As in him we sinned, so in
[In his comment upon the above passage from Owen, Dr. Miley says that "close inspection discovers in it serious logical deficiencies, the pointing out of which will further show the groundlessness of the theory. The argument starts with the assumption of a rudimentary existence of all men in Adam, and respecting the soul as well as the body. Whether the soul so existed in Adam is still an open question with theologians. Augustine himself was always in serious doubt of it. Calvin rejected it, and the Reformed theologians mostly agreed with him. It has no place in the church creed. When so doubtful a principle takes the vital place of a logical premise the whole argument must be weak. On the ground of such an assumed existence in Adam the argument proceeds: 'his will may be said to be ours.' May be said! Many things may be said without proper warrant for the saying. With a doubtful premise and a merely hypothetical inference as the best support that can be given to the theory, its weakness is manifest."-Miley, Systematic Theology, I, pp. 490, 491.
him we had a will of sinning." Here again, we may say that the theory is inadequate. It is intended to identify the posterity of Adam with himself in such a oneness that his sin would be chargeable to them, but this responsibility cannot be explained on the theory of germinal existence in Adam.
The Representative Mode of Imputation. This is usually known as the Federal Theory, or the "Theory of Condemnation by Covenant." The doctrine as held by the Reformed Churches is a combination of the covenant system of Cocceius (1603-1669), with the theories of immediate imputation held by Heidegger and Turretin (1623-1687). In American theology, this theory was developed by the Princeton theologians in opposition to the so-called "New School" of nonimputation in New England. The real impulse to federalism, whether earlier or later, grew out of the difficulty on the Augustinian theory, of accounting for the nonimputation to his posterity, of Adam's subsequent sins. The Federal Theory is therefore one of imputation, as is the Realistic Theory, but it accounts for this imputation in a distinctly different manner. Augustinianism as we have shown, accounted for guilt and depravity on the ground of an actual participation in Adam's first sin; the Federal Theory accounts for it on the purely legal ground of a covenant, in which Adam became the divinely appointed representative of the race. Hence his obedience was reckoned or imputed to his posterity as their obedience, and his transgression as their transgression.
1. We have first to consider, under the Representative Mode, the Theory of Immediate Imputation, commonly known as the Federal Theory. Dr. Charles Hodge is regarded as the ablest exponent of this theory in modern times, and gives us its clearest and most concise statement. He says, "The union between Adam and his posterity which is the ground of the imputation of his sin to them, is both natural and federal. He was their natural head. Such is the relation between parent and child, not only in the case of Adam and his descendants, but in all other cases, that the character and conduct of the one, of necessity to a greater or less degree affect the other. No fact in history is plainer than that children bear the iniquities of their fathers. They suffer for their sins. But there was something peculiar in the case of Adam. Over and beyond this natural relation which exists between a man and his posterity, there was a special divine constitution by which he was appointed the head and representative of his whole race." "The scriptural solution of this fearful problem is," he says, "that God constituted our first parent the federal head and representative of his race, and placed him on probation not only for himself, but also for all his posterity. Had he retained his integrity, he and all his descendants would have been confirmed in a state of holiness and happiness forever. As he fell from the estate in which he was created, they fell with him in his first transgression so that the penalty of that sin came upon all them as well as upon him. Men, therefore, stood their probation in Adam. As he sinned, his posterity came into the world in a state of sin and condemnation. They are by nature the children of wrath. The evils which they suffer are not arbitrary impositions, nor simply the natural consequences of his apostasy, but judicial inflictions. The loss of original righteousness, and death spiritual and temporal under which they commence their existence, are the penalty of Adam's first sin" (Hodge, Systematic Theology, II, pp.196, 197).
In order to greater clarity, we may with profit indicate some of the similarities and contrasts of the Realistic and Federal theories. First, the two theories are similar in this - both maintain that inherited depravity is condemnable. They explain this, however, in different ways. The Realistic theory maintains that Adam's posterity sinned in him, and are, therefore, guilty on account of their own sin. The Federal theory holds that
[Professor Moses Stuart very aptly characterized this theory as one of "fictitious guilt, but veritable damnation." Dr. Baird said, "Here is a sin, which is no crime, but a mere condition of being regarded and treated as sinners; and a guilt, which is devoid of sinfulness, and which does not imply moral demerit or turpitude." Hollaz held that God treats men in accordance with what He foresaw they would do, if they were in Adam's place (cf. Strong, Syst. Th., II, p.615.)]
Adam's posterity did not participate in his sin, but were nevertheless liable to his penalty, in that he was legally their representative. This penalty was the infliction of depravity upon the descendants of Adam, and death as a consequence of that corruption. Thus original sin is essentially a punitive matter. Second, they show marked contrast in this - that the former maintains that guilt in the sense of culpability attaches to depravity, while the latter distinguishes sharply between guilt and demerit. "When it is said that the sin of Adam is imputed to his posterity, it is not meant that they committed his sin, or were the agents of his act, nor is it meant that they were morally criminal for this transgression; but simply that in virtue of the union between him and his descendants his sin is the judicial ground of the condemnation of the race" (Hodge, Systematic Theology, II, p.195). Thus a distinction is made between guilt which is simply amenability to punishment without personal culpability; and guilt to which personal demerit and moral turpitude are attached. The latter alone affects moral character.
There are many objections urged against this theory.
(1) The Federal headship by virtue of a specific covenant is pure assumption without any support from the
[In his reference to the theory of immediate imputation, Dr. Sheldon says, "what is this but the apotheosis of legal artifice? The same God whose penetrating glance burns away every artifice with which a man may enwrap himself, and reaches at once to the naked reality, is represented as swathing His judgment with a gigantic artifice, in that He holds countless millions guilty of a trespass which he knows was committed before their personal existence, and which they could no more prevent than they could hinder the fiat of creation. If this is justice, then justice is a word of unknown meaning. Sane men condemn the savagery of the tribe which treats all of a nation as enemies because one or more of its representatives has offended. Shall sane men, then, think of the holy God as condemning a race in advance of its existence because of the sin of one?" - Sheldon, Syst. of Chr. Doct., p.320.
This theory denies all direct sharing of the race in either the act or the demerit of Adam's sin. This is its distinction from the realistic theory, which, in its higher form, asserts both. As the race had no part in the agency of Adam, his sinning could have no immediate consequence of demerit and guilt upon them as upon himself. Hence, until the judicial act of immediate imputation, all must have been innocent in fact, and must have so appeared even in the view of the divine justice as it proceeded to cover them from the guilt of an alien sin, a sin in no sense their own, and then on the ground of such gratuitous guilt to inflict upon them the penalty of moral depravity and death. Thus the race though innocent in fact, is made the subject of guilt and punishment. - Miley Syst. Th., II, p.503.
Scriptures. That Adam is the natural head of the race, and that legal responsibilities attach to this headship is not denied, but the theory is too mechanical and too artificial to be true. (2) It is contrary to the general teaching of the Scriptures. The descendants of Adam are not sinners because God accounts them as such; God regards them as sinners because they are such. St. Paul is explicit - death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Rom. 5: 12). (3) The theory confuses justice with sovereign power. If God by a sovereign act imputes guilt to the innocent, then He becomes an arbitrary ruler who treats the innocent as though they were guilty, and subordinates justice to legal fiction. (4) If the race had no part in either the agency or demerit of Adam's sin, it is evident that until the judicial pronouncement, they were in fact, innocent before the divine justice. Hence by a judicial act there is imputed to them a sin which is not their own, and on the ground of this gratuitous guilt, there is inflicted upon them the penalty of moral depravity and eternal death. This violates all sense of justice, and calls in question, the fundamental idea of God as a Perfect Being.
2. We have next to consider, under the Representative Mode, the Theory of Mediate Imputation, commonly known as the "'Theory of Condemnation for Depravity." It was first advanced by Placeus (1606-1655) of the
[The arbitrariness of the covenant system is shown in the fact that it is held in a variety of forms. Coccelus, the originator of the system, and Burmann, one of his immediate followers and an able exponent of the system, held that the covenant of grace was between God and the elect, the office of Christ being merely that of a Mediator. Witsius held that the covenant of grace was primarily an eternal covenant between the Father and the Son, and secondarily only, a covenant between God and the elect. Turretine and Hodge, who were advocates of the covenant-imputation scheme, held that in the covenant of works there were God and the first Adam; in the covenant of grace, God and the last Adam.
Dr. E. C. Robinson thinks that it is perfectly certain that Jonathan Edwards did not hold the doctrine of immediate imputation, and that there is no decisive evidence that he held to the mediate imputation of Placeus. He believed in "a real union between the root and the branches of the world of mankind established by the Author of the whole system of the universe"; "the full consent of the hearts of Adam's posterity to the first apostasy." And therefore the sin of the apostasy is not theirs, merely because God imputes it to them; but it is truly and properly theirs, and on that ground God imputes it to them.- AUGUSTINE, Original Sin. Cf. Robinson, Christian Theology, p.155.]
School of Saumur in France. At first he denied that Adam's sin was in any sense imputed to the race, but this position having been condemned by the Reformed Church in 1644 A.D., he afterward proposed the theory which now bears his name. According to this view, the posterity of Adam are counted guilty, not because of their representative, but because they are born physically and morally depraved. While the corrupted nature comes by natural descent, it is nevertheless considered a sufficient cause for condemnation. On the Federal theory, imputation is the cause of depravity; on the Placean theory, depravity is the cause of imputation. The chief objection to this theory is, that it gives no explanation of man's responsibility for his inborn depravity; and since this corrupt nature cannot be charged to man's account, it must therefore be viewed in the light of an arbitrary divine infliction. This brings it under the same objections as those which are urged against the theory of immediate imputation.
The Genetic Mode of Transmission. Stated in other words, this is simply the natural law of heredity. It is the law of organic life that everything reproduces its own kind, and that not only as to anatomical structure and physical characteristics, but also as to mental life and disposition. The Augustinian anthropology with its realistic mode of accounting for original sin, is based upon this law of genetic transmission. The Federal theory of imputation regarded Adam as the representative of the race, solely on the ground of his natural headship. So, also, Arminianism has made much of this genetic law in its explanation of native depravity. Dr. Miley says, "On the obedience and the maintenance of his own holiness of nature, his offspring would have received their life and begun their probation in the same primitive holiness. There would still have been the possible lapse of individuals, with the corruption of their own nature and the consequent depravity of their offspring; but apart from this contingency, or so far as the Adamic connection is concerned, all would have been born in the primitive holiness. Under what law would such have been the consequence? Unquestionably, the law of genetic transmission. . . . as the law of genetic transmission rules in all the forms of propagated life and determines the likeness of the offspring to the parentage, and as it was sufficient for the transmission of the primitive holiness to all the race, it must be a sufficient account of the common native depravity" (MILEY, Systematic Theology, II, p. 506). The manner in which Arminianism, earlier and later, is related to this mode of transmission, must be reserved for a later paragraph.
Original Sin or Inherited Depravity are terms applied to the subjective moral state or condition of man by birth, and therefore express the moral condition of man in his natural estate. This depravity must not, however, be regarded as a physical entity or any other form of essential existence added to man's nature. It is rather, as its name implies, a deprivation of loss. Some theologians have attempted to locate depravity in the human will, but all such attempts are simply forms of the error of attempting to endow the will with personal powers. Depravity belongs to the whole person of man, and not merely to some form of personal manifestation, whether through the will, the intellect or the affections. It is a state or condition in which the person exists, and thus may be said to be a nature - a term which in its metaphysical form is not easily grasped, but which is very real in actual existence. By a ""nature" we may mean either of two things, (1) the constituent elements of man's being which distinguish him from every other order of existence. In this sense human nature remains as it was originally created. (2) The moral development of his being as a growth from within, apart from external influences. It is in this sense only, that we speak of man's nature as corrupt. (This corruption is inherent and not merely accidental. Sin, however, in the former sense of the word nature, is not inherent but simply accidental. It was not a constituent element of man's being as he was originally created. For this reason, sin is not in harmony with man's true nature, as is witnessed by conscience and the profounder law of reason, which is an element of man's natural image. This corrupt nature, therefore, is something alien to the primitive holiness of man's nature by creation, and in thought at least is separable from the person whose condition it represents. Depravity is "deeper down and farther back" than the intellect, the feelings or the will, and therefore metaphysically below consciousness. It is the condition or state in which the person exists, and affects man in both his sensuous and moral nature. By the sensuous nature, we must understand something more than the merely physical; we refer to those sensibilities on the borderline, where the physical condition affects the mental life, or the mental life in turn influences bodily conditions. From this disordered condition, there arise evil tendencies, inordinate sensibilities or affections, and vicious impulses. Likewise the moral nature is so affected that the light of conscience shines dimly, and moral duty is not properly enforced.
While most orthodox creeds regard man's moral condition as the loss of original righteousness, the theories of explanation differ widely. Pelagianism and Calvinism represent the extremes of thought, the former
[The sensuous nature, as we here use the term, is much broader than the physical nature, and the seat of many other sensibilities than the appetencies regarded as more specially physical. These manifold feelings have their proper functions in the economy of human life. In a healthful tone and normal state of the sensuous nature, these feelings are subordinate to the sense of prudence and the moral reason, and may thus fulfill their functions consistently with the spiritual life. There 'nay be a disordered state of the sensuous nature, with the result of inordinate sensibilities. Thus arise evil tendencies and vicious impulses and appetencies, inordinate forms of feeling - all that may be included in "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). There are in human life many instances of such perverted and inordinate sensibilities as clearly evince a disordered state of the sensuous nature. Such a disordered state is a part of the depravity of human nature. The moral nature is the seat of the conscious and the moral reason. There may be a disordered state of the moral nature, just as of the sensuous; a state in which the moral reason is darkened or perverted, and the conscience voiceless or practically powerless. In such a state moral duty is neither clearly seen nor properly enforced. God is far away, or so dimly seen that the vision of Him has little or no ruling power; for, while in the reality of His existence He still might be apprehended in the intuitive or logical reason, it is only in the apprehension of the moral consciousness that He becomes a living presence. - Miley, Systematic Theology, I, pp.443, 444.]
denying any evil consequences as derived from the fall, the latter making it an effect of a participation in Adam's sin. Arminianism arose as a via media or mediating position, but sometimes leaned too far one way or the other. Mr. Wesley made every possible effort to live peaceably with the Calvinists, consistent with the scriptural positions which he held. Mr. Fletcher was always consistent, and his "Checks to Antinomianism" was a work so thorough and comprehensive, that it is still the best refutation of the Calvinistic positions. They are deserving of profound study by all who would be informed concerning the truest and best in Arminianism. We greatly prefer the Wesleyan type of Arminian doctrine, for two reasons: (1) it not only teaches, but makes one feel that sin is exceedingly sinful; and (2) it magnifies the atoning work of Jesus Christ. The doctrine of original sin is such, that it cannot be properly understood apart from the free gift of righteousness. Furthermore, if inherited depravity is not of the essence of sin, how can we understand such texts as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world; or the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin? To weaken our position on sin, is to weaken it on holiness also. Consequently in the following pages, we have endeavored to set forth the positions of earlier Arminianism as held by Mr. Wesley himself, Mr. Watson, Mr. Fletcher, Wakefield, Sumners, Fields, Banks and Pope.
Definitions of Original Sin. "We believe that original sin, or depravity, is the corruption of the nature of all the offspring of Adam, by reason of which every one is very far gone from original righteousness, or the pure state of our first parents at the time of their creation, is averse to God, is without spiritual life, and is inclined to evil, and that continually; and that it continues to exist with the new life of the regenerate, until eradicated by the baptism with the Holy Spirit" (Article V). This article is historically related to Article VII of the Twenty-five Articles of Methodism, and Article IX of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church. Mr. Wesley omitted from the English Article, the word "fault" as applied to original sin, and also the words "'so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit, and therefore, in every person born into this world it deserves God's wrath and damnation." Furthermore, he omitted the words ""And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated," which we have retained in a similar statement. These omissions are significant, but cannot be made to support the idea of non-imputation of penalty as Dr. Miley suggests. As to the Calvinistic definitions, the following from the Westminster Confession will be sufficient. "By this sin (our first parents) fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly deified in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin."
The Nature of Original Sin. While with few exceptions, a belief in original sin has been uniform in the church, there has been a wide variety of opinion as to its nature. (1) By the Greek fathers, the Semi-Pelagians
[As commonly understood, the expression original sin" denotes "the inherent corruption in which all men since the fall are born." The corresponding term in science as distinguished from theology, is "heredity"; as such only, can science know it, and so far as this knowledge goes it is correct. We must go beyond science, into Scripture, and affirm that this hereditary corruption is not a mere "uncondemnable vitiosity." if this hereditary corruption comes at all under the view of God, considered as a moral Being, it must be regarded by him as something either agreeable or obnoxious. if it be regarded as the former, then it is not moral corruption, which is contrary to our hypothesis; but if it be regarded as the latter, then it is condemnable. With a mere physical vitiosity, or corruption, the moral government of God, and hence the plan of redemption, has nothing directly to do. Hence we conclude that original sin is not merely hereditary corruption, but it is with this quality of condemnableness attached thereto. - Foster, Theology, p. 406.]
and some Arminians, emphasis was placed upon inherited depravity instead of original sin. Depravity was thus regarded as physical rather than moral - that is, vitium or weakness instead of peccatum or sin. Adam's physical condition having deteriorated as a consequence of his sin, this weakened or vitiated nature was communicated to his descendants. Thus the "New School" held that original sin was a vitiosity but not intrinsically sin. It was called such, only because it led to sin. Hence neither vitiosity nor death were regarded as penal inflictions, but only as natural consequences which God ordained to mark His displeasure at Adam's transgression. (2) Closely related to this, is the theory of original sin as concupiscence. By this is meant the native corruption which is the result of the ascendency of man's sensuous or animal nature, over the higher attributes of reason and conscience. It involves a proneness to sin, but is not regarded as intrinsically sinful. This is peculiarly the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, but is also held by some branches of Protestantism. (3) Some divines, through an undue emphasis upon the federal headship of Adam, have supposed that original sin was a positive evil infused into man's nature by a judicial act of God, and consequently transmitted to all Adam's posterity. (4) The generally accepted theory of theologians, both Calvinistic and Arminian, is that of privation - a depravity which is the result of deprivation. Two questions arise which demand our consideration, first, in what sense is depravity a deprivation; and second, in what sense may hereditary depravity be said to be hereditary guilt?
1. Original sin is to be considered as privatio, or a privation of the image of God. This is more in harmony with the tenor of the Scriptures than the notion of an infusion of evil qualities into the soul as a result of the divine degree. Arminius calls it "a privation of the image of God," but explains this privation as (1) a forfeiture of the gift of the Holy Spirit; and (2) in consequence of this, the loss of original righteousness. Depravity is therefore "a depravation arising from deprivation." Connected with this deprivation is a positive evil also, which arises as a consequence of the loss of the image of God. Mr. Watson illustrates this by the analogy of physical death which has passed upon all men. He says, "For as the death of the body, the mere privation of the principle of life produces inflexibility of the muscles, the extinction of heat, and sense, and motion, and surrenders the body to the operation of an agency which life, as long as it continued, resisted, namely, that of chemical decomposition; so from the loss of spiritual life, followed estrangement from God, moral inability, the dominion of irregular passions, and the rule of appetite; aversion, in consequence, to restraint; and enmity to God. . . . This accounts for the whole of man's corruption. The Spirit's influence in him, did not prevent the possibility of his sinning, though it afforded sufficient security to him, as long as he looked up to that source of strength. He did sin, and the Spirit retired; and, the tide of sin once turned in, the mound of resistance being removed, it overflowed his whole nature. In this state of alienation from God men are born, with all these tendencies to evil, because the only controlling
[The position of Arminius is as follows: "But since the tenor of the covenant into which God entered with our first parents was this, that if they continued in the favor and grace of God, by the observance of that precept and others, the gifts which had been conferred upon them should be transmitted to their posterity, by the like divine grace which they had received; but if they should render themselves unworthy of those favors, through disobedience, that their posterity should likewise be deprived of them, and should be liable to the contrary evils; hence it followed, that all men, who were to be naturally propagated from them, have become obnoxious to death temporal and eternal, and have been destitute of that gift of the Holy Spirit, or of original righteousness. This punishment is usually called a privation of the image of God, and original sin. But we allow this point to be made the subject of discussion - beside the want or absence of original righteousness, may not some other contrary quality be constituted, as another part of original sin? we think it is more probable, that this absence alone of original righteousness is original sin in itself, since it, alone is sufficient for the commission and production of every actual sin whatsoever."
Mr. Watson thinks that the privation is not fully expressed by the phrase "the loss of original righteousness," unless that it be meant to include in it the only source of righteousness in even the first man, the life which is imparted and supplied by the Holy Spirit. Hence he says, "Arminius has more forcibly and explicitly expressed that privation of which we speak, by the forfeiture 'of the gift of the Holy Spirit' by which Adam, for himself and his descendants, and the loss of original righteousness as the consequence. This I take to be at once a simple and scriptural view of the case." - Watson, Theological Institutes, II, p. 80.]
and sanctifying power, the presence of the Spirit, is wanting, and is now given to man, not as when first brought into being, as a creature; but is secured to him by the mercy and grace of a new and different dispensation, under which the Spirit is administered in different degrees, times, and modes, according to the wisdom of God, never on the ground of our being creatures, but as redeemed from the curse of the law by Him who became a curse for us" (Watson, Theological Institutes, II, pp. 79-83).
2. The next question concerns hereditary depravity and hereditary guilt. We have just seen that depravity is the loss of original righteousness in consequence of the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit. The curse threatened to disobedience was death. The sin of Adam incurred the penalty, and the penalty was inflicted. God withdrew from the soul of Adam. His descendants, therefore, were born under the curse of the law which has deprived human nature of the Spirit of God, and which can be restored only in Christ. Hereditary depravity then, is only the law of natural heredity, but that law operating under the penal consequence of Adam's sin. Consequently the church teaches, "that the whole race, descending by ordinary generation from the fallen first progenitors, inherit from them a morally tainted and vitiated nature; a nature in which there is no inclination to do anything truly good, but which, as soon as its dispositions or tendencies begin to unfold
[In the discussion of the primitive holiness we fully recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit as the source of its highest form. We did not accept the papal view, that original righteousness was wholly a gracious endowment, superadded after the creation of man, but held the Adamic nature just as created to be upright in its4f. In entire consistency with this view we held the presence of the Spirit as the source of the fuller strength and tone of that holiness. Provision was thus complete for the more thorough subordination of all sensuous impulses and appetencies, and the complete dominance of the moral and spiritual life. As the result of sin there was a deprivation of the Holy Spirit, and in consequence of this loss a depravation of man's nature. In addition to the more direct effect of this sin upon the sensuous and moral nature, there was a loss of all the moral strength and tone immediately arising from the presence and agency of the Holy Spirit. The detriment was twofold, and in consequence the depravation was the deeper. In this view we still find depravity as a disordered state of the sensuous and moral nature. - Miley, Syst. Th., I, pp. 444, 445.]
themselves, shows itself evil in the production of evil thoughts, words and actions." For this reason Mr. Watson says that hereditary depravity arises from hereditary guilt; and Mr. Wesley interprets the scripture for that all have sinned (Rom. 5: 12), to mean that "they were so constituted sinners by Adam's sinning as to become liable to punishment threatened to his transgression" (Wesley, Works, V, p.535). But the term "guilt" as here used in Arminian theology, needs to be carefully guarded. It may mean, as we have shown, either culpability (reatus culpo), or mere liability to punishment (reatus pono). In this case, the culpability belonged solely to Adam, and resided in the first sinner as the natural head and representative of the race. The consequences of his sin were passed on to his descendants as the reatus pono, or liability to punishment. The two ideas of responsibility for the act and liability for the consequences are not inseparable. Since Adam by his sin was separated from God, this state of separation or death has passed on to his descendants, who in their natural state are therefore said to be "dead in trespasses and sins," and "by nature the children of wrath." To this the testimony of the scriptures is explicit - for the judgment was by one to condemnation, and by one
[The infliction of spiritual death, which we have already shown to be included in the original sentence, consisted, of course, in the loss of spiritual life, which was that principle from which all right direction and control of the various powers and faculties of man flowed. But this spiritual life in the first man was not a natural effect, that is, an effect which would follow from his mere creation, independent of the vouchsafed influence of the Holy Spirit. This may be inferred from the "new creation," which is the renewal of man after the image of Him who first created him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit; but even after this change, this being "born again," man is not able to preserve himself in the renewed condition into which he is brought, but by the continuance of the same quickening and aiding influence. No future growth in knowledge and experience; no power of habit, long persevered in, render him independent of the help of the Holy Spirit; he has rather, in proportion to his growth, a deeper consciousness of his need of the indwelling of God, and of what the apostle calls his "mighty working." The strongest aspiration of this new life is after communion and constant intercourse with God; and as that is the source of new strength, so this renewed strength expresses itself in a "cleaving unto the Lord," with a still more vigorous "purpose of heart." In a word, the sanctity of a Christian is dependent wholly upon the presence of the Sanctifier. We can work out our own salvation only as "God worketh in us to will and to do." - Watson, Th. Inst., II, p. 80]
man's offence death reigned by one, but both in relation to the free gift which is of many offences unto justification (Rom. 5: 16-18). In commenting upon the text By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, Dr. Ralston says, "Now, if all mankind are not involved in the penalty, we must flatly deny the Word of God, which plainly and repeatedly represents death, in every sense of the word, as a penal infliction - a judicial sentence pronounced upon the guilty as a just punishment for sin" (Ralston, Elements of Divinity, p. 179) Both Mr. Watson and Mr. Howe argue the penal nature of depravity from the retraction of the Spirit, based upon Gal. 3: 13, 14; Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the
[Watson, Raymond, Field and Banks lean more toward immediate imputation; Pope more toward the mediate idea. "And since Adam was a public person, a representative, this state of death, of separation from God, has passed on to his descendants, who, in their natural state, are therefore said to be 'dead in trespasses and sins,' aliens from God, and therefore filled with evil." - Field, Handbook Chr. Th., p. 151. "The transmission of guilt, in the restricted sense already explained, is perfectly justifiable, if the representative or federal principle is justifiable in the moral as in other spheres. And then the transmission of guilt becomes the basis for the transmission of a corrupt nature." - Banks, Manual of Chr. Doct., p. 139. "The imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity is confined to its legal results. If a man has committed treason, and has thereby lost his estate, his crime is so imputed to his children that they with him, are made to suffer the penalty of his offense. We do not mean, however, that the personal act of the father is charged upon the children, but that his guilt or liability to punishment is so transferred to them that they suffer the legal consequences of his crime." - Raymond, Chr. Th., p. 293.
It is to be observed that the Scripture never disjoins the condemnation from the depravity; the one is always implied in the other, while both are generally connected with the great salvation. It is impossible to conceive the two former apart from each other; though the precision of scriptural language suggests that those who are born with a sinful bias are therefore condemned rather than that being condemned they are necessarily depraved. There is one passage that strikingly illustrates this. The apostle speaks of the Ephesian converts as having been under the sway of the flesh, in the full sense as given above, and thus showing that they were by nature the children of wrath. The depravity and condemnation of the natural estate are here once brought together: it is the solitary instance in which man's nature is said to be under wrath; but the wrath is upon those who lived after that nature rather than upon the nature itself; and both are brought into close connection with Christ, the light of whose coming already shineth, though the darkness is not yet wholly past. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p. 54.]
Spirit through faith. "If the remission of the curse carry with it the conferring of the grace of the Spirit then the curse, while it did continue, could but include and carry in it the privation of the Spirit. As soon as the law was broken, man was cursed, so as that thereby this Spirit should be withheld, should be kept off, otherwise than as upon the Redeemer's account, and according to His methods it should be restored" (cf. Watson, Institutes, II, p. 81).
Total Depravity. The Scriptures as we have shown, represent human nature as being totally depraved. Since this term has been so grossly misinterpreted in popular speech, its theological use needs to be carefully guarded. As such, the term is not used intensively, that is, human nature is not regarded as being so thoroughly depraved that there can be no further degrees in wickedness; but extensively, as a contagion spread throughout man's entire being. No informed advocate of this doctrine has ever affirmed that all men are personally wicked in the same degree; or that wicked men may not "wax worse and worse." The term "total" is applicable to depravity in three different senses. (1) Depravity is total in that it affects the entire being of man. It vitiates every power
[It is a remarkable fact, and one which should not be overlooked, that nearly all Calvinistic divines who have attempted to state the Arminian doctrine upon this subject, have taken their views from the semi-Pelagian notions of Dr. Whitby, instead of deriving them from Arminius himself, or those who agree with him. Thus Dr. Dick asserts of the Arminians: "They do not admit that the effect of the fall was a total loss of what we call original righteousness." He represents them as holding that though man "fell from a state of innocence and integrity, and his appetite was now more inclined to evil than before," yet "he did not fall into a state of moral impotence, or lose entirely his power to do good." That these sentiments may be entertained by some who are called Arminiams we will not deny; but to ascribe them to Arminius, or to any of his genuine followers, is a palpable misrepresentation. The first sin, according to that great divine, brought upon the offenders the divine displeasure, the loss of that primitive righteousness and holiness in which they were created, and liability to a twofold death. "Wherefore," he says, "whatever punishment was brought down upon our first parents, has likewise pervaded and yet pursues all their posterity; so that all men are by nature the children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), obnoxious to condemnation, and to temporal as well as eternal death. They are also devoid of original righteousness and holiness. With these evils they would remain oppressed forever, unless they were liberated by Jesus Christ." It must therefore be evident to every impartial mind, that Arminians as well as Calvinists hold to the doctrine of man's total depravity. - WAKEFIELD, Christian Theology, p. 299.]
and faculty of spirit, soul and body. The affections are alienated, the intellect darkened, and the will perverted. Mr. Fletcher says that depravity is seen in the corruption of the powers that constitute a good head - the understanding, the imagination, the memory and the reason; and in the depravity of the powers which form a good heart - the will, the conscience and the affections. In the language of the prophet, the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint (Isa. 1: 5). (2) Depravity is total in that man is destitute of all positive good. St. Paul says, For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing (Rom. 7: 18). This is clearly stated also, in Article VII of the creed. "We believe that man's creation in godlikeness included ability to choose between right and wrong, and that thus he was made morally responsible; that through the fall of Adam he became depraved so that he cannot now turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God; but the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all men, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight." As in the case of demerit which attaches to inbred sin apart from the free gift in Christ, but is remitted through the universal diffusion of grace; so depravity apart from this communication of gracious ability, renders man totally unable in spiritual things. Pelagianism holds to a plenary ability of man in his natural state; the New School holds to natural ability; the Calvinistic churches to total inability apart from the election and effectual calling; while Arminians hold to a gracious ability extended to all men, so that in the words of Mr. Wesley, "the state of nature is in some sense a state of grace." (3) Depravity is total in a positive sense, in that the powers of man's being, apart from divine grace, are employed with evil continually (Gen. 6: 5; Matt. 15: 19). In the words of the creed, "Man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually." Mr. Watson points out that some divines have attempted to soften this article, by availing themselves of the phrase "very far gone," as though it did not express a total defection from original righteousness. The articles were, however, subscribed by the two houses of convocation, in 1571 A.D., in Latin and English also, and therefore both copies are equally authentic. The Latin copy expresses this by the phrase "quam longissime distet," which is as strong an expression as that language can furnish. It therefore fixes the sense of the compilers on this point, and takes away any argument which rests on the alleged equivocalness of the English version (cf. Watson, Th. Inst., II, p. 47.)
The question of original sin cannot be understood apart from its counter truth, the free gift of righteousness. By the ""free gift" is meant an unconditional diffusion of grace to all men, as a first benefit of the universal atonement made by Jesus Christ. This may be said to be the distinctive doctrine of earlier Arminianism, and was confirmed by the Wesleyan theologians from Fletcher to Pope. They allowed, with Calvin, that full penalty of death applied to both Adam and his posterity as a consequence of the fall; and that, therefore, apart from the grace of Christ, both guilt and demerit attached to
[This, therefore, is the general ground of justification. By the sin of the first Adam, who was not only the father, but likewise the representative of us all, we all fell short of the favor of God; we all became children of wrath; or, as the apostle expresses it, "judgment came upon all men to condemnation." Even so, by the sacrifice for sin made by the second Adam, as the representative of us all, God is so far reconciled to all the world, that He hath given them a new covenant; the plain condition whereof being once fulfilled, "there is no more condemnation" for us, but "we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." - Wesley, Sermon: Justification by Faith.
The teaching of the later scripture is summed up and confirmed by St. Paul, to the effect that Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, was given to the race of mankind, as the Fountain of an Original Righteousness that avails to efface and more than efface the effects of Original Sin in the case of all those who should be His spiritual seed. Hence this primitive gift was an objective provision for all the descendants of the first sinner, the benefits of which were to be applied to those whose faith should embrace the Saviour. But it is important to remember that it took the form of an original Free Gift to the entire race, before transgression began, and that it has in many respects affected the character of Original Sin: suspending the full strength of its condemnation, and in some degree counteracting its depravity. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p.55.]
inherited depravity. Mr. Wesley makes this assertion, but does not offer any explanation as to the manner in which original sin is transmitted. But they differed in this - Calvinism taught that the whole race having fallen in Adam, God might without any impeachment of His justice, predestinate some to salvation in Christ, and leave others to their deserved punishment. Over against this, the Arminians taught that there was a "free gift" of righteousness, unconditionally bestowed upon all men through Christ. Thus Dr. Summers says, "Representative theologians from the beginning until now, from
[Fletcher's "Checks to Antinomianism" may well be called classic in Methodist theology. In his "Third Check" he sets forth the four degrees that make up a glorified saint's eternal justification. These are (1) Infant justification; (2) Justification, or the pardon of actual sins, consequent upon believing; (3) The justification by works of St. James; and (4) Justification at the day of judgment.
"All these degrees of justification," he says, "are equally merited by Christ. We do nothing in order to the first, because it finds us in a state of total death. Toward the second, we believe by the power freely given us in the first, and by the additional help of Christ's word and the Spirit's agency. we work by faith in order to the third. And we continue believing in Christ and working together with God, as we have opportunity, in order to the fourth.
"The preaching distinctly these four degrees of a glorified saint's justification is attended with peculiar advantages. The first justification engages the sinner 5 attention, encourages his hope, and draws his heart by love. The second wounds the self-righteous Pharisee, who works without believing, while it binds up the heart of the returning publican, who has no plea but 'God be merciful to me a sinner!' The third detects the hypocrisy and blasts the vain hopes of all Antinomians, who, instead of 'showing their faith by their works, deny in works the Lord that bought them, and put him to an open shame.' And while the fourth makes even a 'Felix tremble,' it causes believers to 'pass the time of their sojourning here in humble fear' and cheerful watchfulness.
"Though all these degrees of justification meet in glorified saints, we offer violence to Scriptures if we think .... that they are inseparable. For all the wicked who 'quench the convincing Spirit,' and are finally given up to a reprobate mind, fall from the first, as well as Pharaoh. All who 'receive the seed among thorns,' all who 'do not forgive their fellow-servants,' all who 'begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh, and all 'who draw back,' and become sons and daughters of 'perdition,' by falling from the third, lose the second and Hymenaeus, Philetus, and Demas. And none partake of the fourth but those who 'bear fruit unto perfection,' according to one or another of the divine dispensations: 'some producing thirty-fold,' like heathens, 'some sixty-fold,' like Jews, and 'some a hundred-fold,' like Christians.
"From the whole it appears, that although we can do absolutely nothing toward our first justification, yet to say that neither faith nor works are required in order to the other three, is one of the boldest, most unscriptural, and most dangerous assertions in the world; which sets aside the best half of the Scriptures, and lets gross Antinomianism come in full tide upon the Church." - Fletcher, Works, I, pp.161, 162.]
Fletcher to Pope, have overthrown this fundamental teaching of Calvinism with the express statement of the Scriptures, setting over against the death-dealing first Adam the life-giving Second. If a decree of condemnation has been issued against original sin, irresponsibily derived from the first Adam, likewise a decree of justification has been issued from the same court, whose benefits are unconditionally bestowed through the Second Adam. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Rom. 5: 18, 19). The first member of each of these verses is fully balanced and reversed by the second member. Had not the intervention of the Second Adam been foreseen, universally making and constituting righteous all who were made and constituted sinners, Adam would never have been permitted to propagate his species, and the race would have been cut off in its sinning head" (Summers, Syst. Th., II, p.39). Thus the true Arminian position admits the full penalty of sin, and consequently neither minifies the exceeding sinfulness of sin, nor holds lightly the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. It does so, however, not by denying the full force of the penalty, as do the semi-Pelagians, but by magnifying the sufficiency of the atonement,
[But the gift of righteousness to the race before the succession of its history began was of the nature of a provision to counteract the effects of sin, when original sin should become actual. It did not at once abolish the effects of the fall in the first pair, whose original sin was also in their case actual transgression; it did not place them in a new probation, nor did it preclude the possibility of a future race of sinners. The great Atonement had now become necessary: as necessary to these parents of the race as it was after they had spread into countless multitudes. The Redeemer was already the Gift of God to man; but He was still "the coming One," as St. Paul once calls Him in relation to this very fact: making the first sinner the first type of the Saviour from sin. The Atonement does not put away sin in the sovereignty of arbitrary grace, but as the virtue of grace pardoning and healing all who believe. It began at once to build the house of a new humanity - a spiritual seed of the Second Adam - the first Adam being himself the first living stone of the new temple. And with reference to the life bestowed on this new race St. Paul strains language to show how much it superabounds, how much it surpasses the effect of the Fall. - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p. 56.]
and the consequent communication of prevenient grace to all men through the headship of the last Adam.
The Natural and Federal Headship of Adam. Arminianism accepts both the natural and federal headship of Adam, but rejects the extreme length to which these positions have sometimes been carried. It holds with realism, to the solidarity of the race, but rejects the idea of personal participation in Adam's sin. It holds also that Adam was legally or federally the representative of the race, but it always holds this in connection with the natural headship of Christ. Natural headship may have its consequences in hereditary depravity, but in no sense can these consequences be sinful, unless they are regarded as operating under penalty. Legal consequences flow only from legal relations. This the Scriptures specifically declare. The locus classicus is Romans 5:12-19, which has already been discussed in some of its phases. Omitting the italicized words in the summary, we have the following: as by one offence, unto all men, to condemnation; even so, by one righteousness, unto all men, unto justification of life. Here the sin of Adam and the merits of Christ are regarded as coextensive, the condemnation of the first being reversed by the righteousness of the second. St. Paul declares specifically that Adam was the figure of him that was to come (Rom. 5: 14). Adam being the type of ""the Coming One," his sin cannot be disjoined from the righteous obedience of Adam the Deliverer. "The redemption of man by Christ," says Wakefield, "was certainly not an afterthought, brought in upon man's apostasy. It was a provision, and when man
[As to the case of Adam and his adult descendants, it will be seen that all became liable to bodily death. Here was justice. But by means of the atonement, which effectually declares the justice of God, this sentence is reversed by a glorious resurrection. Again, when God, the fountain of spiritual life, withdrew himself from Adam, he died a spiritual death and became morally corrupt; and, as "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," all his posterity are in the same condition. Here is justice. But spiritual life visits man from another quarter and through other means. The second Adam "is a quickening Spirit." Through the atonement which He has made the Holy Spirit is given to man, that he may again infuse into his corrupt nature the heavenly life and regenerate and sanctify it. Here is mercy. And as to a future state, eternal life is promised to all who perseveringly believe in Christ, which reverses the sentence of eternal death. Here again, is the manifestation of mercy. - WAKEFIELD, Christian Theology, p. 294.]
fell he found justice in hand with mercy. If we look at the subject in this light, every difficulty will be removed" (Wakefield, Chr. Th., p.294). The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, and the atonement began when' sin began. The gospel was preached at the time the first sin was condemned; and the provision far exceeded the offense - for where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Thus "original sin and original grace met in the mystery of mercy at the very gate of Paradise."
The Nature of the Free Gift. What, then, was the nature of this free gift, and what are the benefits from it which accrue to the race? We may broadly summarize these as follows: (1) The first benefit of the free gift was to preserve mankind from sinking below the p05sibility of redemption. It was the preservation of the race from utter destruction. Not only was the natural
[But for the interposition of the plan of redemption, no other result could have followed the first transgression, at least, so it seems evident in the light of rational thought, than the immediate death of the first pair. Temporal death, or the death of the body, would have terminated their existence, and the second death must have instantly ensued. That the death of the body would render propagation impossible is too evident to require distinct statement. Human nature being what it is, the idea that souls without bodies can be propagated is too preposterous for a moment's indulgence. The only conception admissible in the case, is that, but for redemption, the race would have become extinct in the persons of our parents. For being and its blessings all mankind are indebted to the garden agonies, to the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Consciousness of thought, emotion, and volition, all the pleasures of knowledge, love and hope, all we are or may hope to be, all we have, and all we enjoy, are the purchase of our Savior's death. We are bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. Does any one conceive here an incongruity in calling existence a blessing, a gracious gift, the result of a benevolent interposition, in the case of those whose existence issues in eternal death? - RAYMOND, Systematic Theology, II, pp. 308, 309.
It is well known that the Methodist doctrine of sin is greatly modified by her doctrine of the atonement and the universality of its grace. we have ever held the doctrine of a common native depravity; that this depravity is in itself a moral ruin; and that there is no power in us by nature unto a good life. But through a universal atonement there is a universal grace - the light and help of the Holy Spirit in every soul. If we are born with a corrupt nature in descent from Adam, we receive our existence under an economy of redemption, with a measure of the grace of Christ. With such grace, which shall receive increase on its proper use, we may turn unto the Lord and be saved. with these doctrines of native depravity and universal grace there is for every soul the profoundest lesson of personal responsibility for sin, and of the need of Christ in order to salvation and a good life. - Miley, Syst. Th., I, pp.532, 533.]
image of man preserved, but the eternal sense of right and wrong, of good and evil were not effaced, and thus the moral image was in some sense shielded from violation. The fall was the utter ruin of nothing in our humanity; only the depravation of every faculty. The human mind retains the principles of truth; the heart the capacity for holy affections; the will its freedom, not yet the freedom of necessary evil. All this we owe to the Second Adam" (Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p.52). (2) The second effect of the free gift was the reversal of the condemnation and the bestowal of a title to eternal life. Judgment came upon all men to condemnation, so also, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Thus the condemnation which rested upon the race through Adam's sin is removed by the one oblation of Christ. By this we understand that no child of Adam is condemned eternally, either for the original offense, or its consequences. Thus we may say, that none are predestinated unconditionally to eternal damnation, and that culpability does not attach to original sin. We must believe that condemnation in the sense of the doom of the race, never passed beyond Adam and the unindividualized nature of man. It was arrested in Christ as regards every individual, and thereby changed into a conditional sentence. Man is not now condemned for the depravity of his own nature, although that depravity is of the essence of sin; its culpability we maintain, was removed by the free gift in Christ. Man is condemned solely for his own transgressions. The free gift removed the original condemnation and abounds unto many offenses. Man becomes amenable for the depravity of his heart, only when rejecting the remedy for it, he consciously ratifies it as his own, with all its penal consequences. (3) The free gift was the restoration of
[The doctrine of natural depravity affirms the total inability of man to turn himself to faith and calling upon God. This being postulated, the affirmation that all have a fair probation involves the doctrine of a gracious influence unconditionally secured as the common inheritance of the race: this gracious influence is so secured; the same blood that purchased for mankind a conscious existence procured for them all grace needful for the responsibilities of that existence. - Raymond, Syst. Th., II, p. 316.]
the Holy Spirit to the race; not in the sense of the spirit of life in regeneration; or the spirit of holiness in entire sanctification, but as the spirit of awakening and conviction. We have seen that depravity is twofold - the absence of original righteousness, and a bias or tendency toward sin as a consequence of this deprivation. Both of these have their origin in the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit as the original bond of union between the soul and God. Hence the Spirit was as surely given back to the race as the atonement was given to it, that is, as a provisional discipline for the fuller grace of redemption.
The Mitigation of Inherited Depravity. The free gift has important bearings upon the question of original sin, and serves to reconcile some of the apparent contradictions in Arminian theology. Thus, both the earlier and later Arminians maintain that Adam's posterity are not to be held accountable for his sin, but they do it in very different ways. Earlier Arminianism holds that Adam's descendants came under the full penalty of his sin, that is, death, temporal, spiritual and eternal. But they hold that this penalty was remitted by the free gift imparted to all men as a first benefit of the atonement, made by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The later Arminians with their Pelagianizing tendencies, reach the same result but in a less scriptural manner, by denying that the consequences of Adam's sin are penal in nature. The same apparent contradiction is seen in the different views as to the nature of inherited depravity. Both earlier and later Armimanism hold that guilt in the sense of culpability or demerit, does not attach
[The Scriptures affirm that there remains in man, after conversion, what is called "the flesh," the "old man," "carnality," "wrath" - inherited predisposition - some call this predisposition, "tendency to evil," but it is evidently more; the apostle calls it "the body of sin."-Dr. P. F. Bresee, Sermon: Death and Life.
Mr. Watson in speaking of the rejection of the remedy for sin, has this to say: "Should this be rejected, he stands liable to the whole penalty, to the punishment of loss as to the natural consequence of his corrupted nature which renders him unfit for heaven: to the punishment of even pain for the original offense, we may also without injustice, say, as to an adult, whose actual transgressions, when the means of deliverance have been afforded him by Christ, is consenting to all rebellion against God, and to that of Adam himself; and to the penalty of his own actual transgressions, aggravated by his having made light of the gospel." - WATSON, Institutes, II, p. 57.]
to it. Herein, the Arminian is distinguished from the Calvinist. But earlier Arminianism holds that inherited depravity is of the nature of sin, and that guilt originally attached to it, but was remitted by the free gift. Later Arminianism regards inherited depravity as merely natural heredity without demerit or culpability. Again, earlier Armimanism regards man as unable of himself to faith and calling upon God, but it regards this lack of natural ability as restored in the form of a gracious ability.
We have seen that the connection between original sin and the Christian doctrine of salvation is fundamental and universal. The sin of Adam, its consequences for the race, the atonement in Christ and the grace of the Spirit are inextricably bound up together. Whatever the position which is taken toward one, whether theological or practical, affects all. Several general questions arise which must be given consideration: (1) What is the moral condition of man at birth; (2) In what sense is he in bondage to sin; (3) Is it possible to know the carnal mind apart from its manifestations; and (4) What is the difference between original sin and human infirmity?
The Corrupt Nature of Man. Man's nature as he is born into the world is corrupt, is very far gone from original righteousness, is averse to God, is without spiritual life, is inclined to evil, and that continually. However, for this depraved nature he is not responsible, and hence no guilt or demerit attaches to it. This is not because depravity is uncondemnable, but because through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the free gift reversed the penalty as a consequence of the universal atonement. We hold, therefore, as truly as later Arminianism, that man as he comes into the world is not guilty of inbred sin. He becomes responsible for it, only when having rejected the remedy provided by atoning blood, he ratifies it as his own. We may say the same concerning free agency. All who will may turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight. This free agency, however, is not mere natural ability, it is gracious ability. "Through the fall of Adam, man became depraved, so that he cannot now turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God; but the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all men." Mr. Wesley calls attention to the fact that redemption was coeval with the fall. "Allowing that all the souls of men are dead by nature, that excuses none, seeing there is no man that is in a state of mere nature; there is no man, unless he has quenched the Spirit, that is wholly devoid of the grace of God" (Wesley, Sermon: On Working Out Our Own Salvation).
The Bondage of Inbred Sin. The nature of inbred sin is that of a bondage of the higher nature to the lower. This lower nature in its entire being - body, soul and spirit - is called by St. Paul, the flesh or sarx (sarx). In this sense, the "flesh" is the nature of man separated from God and become subject to the creature. That is, the Self or autos ego (autoV egw) is without God, but only in the sense of being without Him as God: and being without God, it is in the world as a false sphere of life and enjoyment. This position which regards the flesh as depraved humanity enslaved to sense, is closely allied to the idea of concupiscence. In fact, St. Paul speaks of its working all manner of concupiscence (Rom. 7: 8). He further declares that the one spiritual agent has the power to will, but is not able to carry this will into effect. Consequently there is impotence to good. "Therefore the one personality has a double character: the inward man of the mind, to which to will is present, and the flesh or the body of sin, in which how to perform that which is good I find not. But the one person, to whom these opposite elements belong - an inner man, a reason, a will to good; a carnal bias, an outer man, a slavery to evil - is behind all these, behind even the inner man. And in him, in the inmost secret of his nature, is the original vice which gives birth to these
Contradictions....It teaches most distinctly the freedom of the will, and at the same time the inability of man to do what is good. The harmony of these seeming opposites is most manifest; the faculty of willing is untouched in any case, and the influence of conscience prompts it to will the right; but this is bound up with a miserable impotence to good, and results in both a natural and moral inability to do what the law of God requires" (Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, pp. 66, 67).
Filthiness of the Flesh and Spirit. St. Paul makes it clear, that in addition to the works of the flesh which are manifest (Gal. 5: 19), there is also a secret filthiness of the flesh and spirit, which exists as the fountainhead or source of these outward carnal manifestations. He therefore urges the disciples to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7: 1). Inbred sin as a principle can be known only through its personal and actual manifestation. Failure to remember this sometimes leads to confusion in the experience of those who seek deliverance from it. They see the "depths of pride, self-will and hell" in their own hearts through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, but they see it in the light of its past manifestations. This only do they see, that the works of the
[The Spirit's universal influence qualifies original sin as He is in every responsible soul a Remembrancer of a forfeited estate, the Prompter to feel after God and regain that communion which all history proves to be an inextinguishable yearning of mankind. He suffers not the spirit of man to forget its great loss. It is through this preliminary universal influence that guilt is naturally in man ashamed of its deformity....But conscience suggests the thought, at least in man, of recovery; and the same Spirit who moves toward God in conscience, through fear and hope, universally touches the secret springs of the will. Original sin is utter powerlessness to good; it is in itself a hard and absolute captivity. But it is not left to itself. When the apostle says that the Gentiles have the law written in their hearts, and in conscience measure their conduct by that standard, and may do by nature the things contained in the law, he teaches us plainly that in the inmost recesses of nature there is the secret mystery of grace which, if not resisted and quenched, prompts the soul to feel after God, and gives it those secret, inexplicable beginnings of the movement toward good which fuller grace lays hold on. In fact, the very capacity of salvation proves that the inborn sinfulness of man has been in some degree restrained; that its tendency to absolute evil has been checked; and that natural ability and moral ability - to use the language of controversy - are one through the mysterious operation of a grace behind all human evil. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p.60.]
flesh having been put off in conversion, there still remains the necessity of crucifying the flesh itself, that is, the carnal nature with its sinful tendencies and out-reachings. They that are Christ's, in the full New Covenant sense, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5: 24).
Depravity and Infirmity. One more consideration demands our attention. We have seen that the ""flesh" as St. Paul uses the term, includes both the spiritual and physical nature as under the reign of sin. The corruption extends to the body as well as the soul. The depravity of his spiritual nature may be removed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, but the infirmities of flesh will be removed only in the resurrection and glorification of the body. Man in a general way has no difficulty in distinguishing between the soul and the body, but the fine line of demarcation, the exact arresting point between the spiritual and the physical, cannot be determined. Could we but know where this line of distinction lies, we could with ease distinguish between carnal manifestations which have their seat wholly in the soul, and physical infirmities which attach to his physical constitution still under the reign of sin. We are told that the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. Since mental strain often weakens the physical constitution, and physical weakness in turn clouds the mind and spirit of man, there is ever needful, a spirit of charity toward all men.
Fallen human nature is flesh or sarx: the whole being of man, body and soul, soul and spirit, separated from God, and subjected to the creature....The disturbance in the very essence of human nature may be regarded as affecting the entire personality of man as a spirit acting in a body. He is born with a nature which is - apart both from the external Evil One and from the external renewing power of the New Creation - under the bondage of sin. That bondage may be regarded with reference to the lower nature that enslaves the higher, and the higher nature that is enslaved. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p. 65.