moral character, then the inborn tendency to evil has moral character; as the former are commendable, so the latter is condemnable.

If it is said that sin is the act of a person and not of a nature, we reply that in Adam the whole human nature once subsisted in the form of a single personality. The act of the person could be at the same time the act of the nature. That which could not be at any subsequent point of time, could be and was, at that time. Human nature could fall in Adam , though that fall could not be repeated in the case of any one of his descendants. Hovey. Outlines, 129 ? ?Shall we say that will is the cause of sin in holy beings, while wrong desire is the cause of sin in unholy beings? Augustine held this.? Pepper, Outlines, 112 ? ?We do not fall each one by himself. We were so on probation in Adam that his fall was our fall.?

C. That Adam?s sin cannot be imputed to us, since we cannot repent of it.

The objection has plausibility only so long as we fail to distinguish between Adam?s sin as the inward apostasy of the nature from God, and Adam?s sin as the outward act of transgression, which followed and manifested that apostasy. Indeed, we cannot repent of Adam?s sin as our personal act or as Adam?s personal act but, regarding his sin as the apostasy of our common nature, (an apostasy which manifests itself in our personal transgressions as it did in his), we can and do repent of it. In truth it is this nature, as self- corrupted and averse to God, for which the Christian most deeply repents.

God, we know, has not made our nature as we find it. We are conscious of our depravity and apostasy from God. We know that God cannot be responsible for this; we know that our nature is responsible. But this it could not be unless, its corruption were self-corruption. For this self- corrupted nature we should and do repent. Anselm, De Concep. Virg., 23 ? ?Adam sinned in one point of view as a person, in another as man i. e., as human nature which at that time existed in him alone). But since Adam and humanity could not be separated, the sin of the person necessarily affected the nature. This nature is what Adam transmitted to his posterity, and transmitted it such as his sin had made it, burdened with a debt which it could not pay, robbed of the righteousness with which God had originally invested it. In every one of his descendants this impaired nature makes the persons sinners. Yet not in the same degree sinners as Adam was, for the latter sinned both as human nature and as a person, while newborn infants sin only as they possess the nature.? More briefly, in Adam a person made nature sinful and in his posterity, nature makes persons sinful.

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Character Building Thought Power

Character Building Thought Power

Character-Building Thought Power by Ralph Waldo Trine. Ralph draws a distinct line between bad and good habits. In this book, every effort is made by the writer to explain what comprises good habits and why every one needs it early in life. It draws the conclusion that habits nurtured in early life concretize into impulses in future for the good or bad of the subject.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment