Sin, which, in its ultimate origin, is a necessary thing, is no longer sin. On the whole theory of the sensuous origin of sin, see Neander, Planting and Training, 386, 428; Ernesti, Ursprung der Sunde, 1:29-274; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:132-147; Tulloch, Doctrine of Sin, 144 ? ?That which is an inherent and necessary power in the creation cannot be a contradiction of its highest law.? This theory confounds sin with the mere consciousness of sin. On Schleiermacher, see Julius Muller, Doctrine of Sin, 341-349. On the sense-theory of sin in general, see John Caird, Fund. Ideas of Christianity, 2:26-52; N. R. Wood, The Witness of Sin, 79-87.
This view explains sin as a necessary result of the limitations of man?s finite being. As an incident of imperfect development, the fruit of ignorance and impotence, sin is not absolutely but only relatively evil ? an element in human education and a means of progress. This is the view of Leibnitz and of Spinoza. Modern writers as Schurman and Royce have maintained that moral evil is the necessary background and condition of moral good.
The theory of Leibnitz may be found in his Theodicee, part 1, sections 20 and 31; that of Spinoza in his Ethics, part 4, proposition 20. Upon this view, sin is the blundering of inexperience, the thoughtlessness that takes evil for good, the ignorance that puts its fingers into the fire, the stumbling without which one cannot learn to walk. It is a fruit which is sour and bitter simply because it is immature. It is a means of discipline and training for something better, it is holiness in the germ, good in the making ? ?Erhebung des Menschen zur freien Vernunft.? The Fall was a fall up and not down. John Fiske, in addition to his sense-theory of sin already mentioned, seems to hold this theory also. In his Mystery of Evil he says, ?Its impress upon the human soul is the indispensable background, which, shall be set hereafter the eternal joys of heaven.? In other words, sin is necessary to holiness, as darkness is the indispensable contrast and background to light for without black, we should never be able to know white. Schurman, Belief in God, 251 sq . ? ?The possibility of sin is the correlative of the free initiative God has vacated on man?s behalf. The essence of sin is the enthronement of self. Yet, without such self-absorption, there could be no sense of union with God. For consciousness is possible only through opposition. To know A, we must know it through not A. Alienation from God is the necessary condition of communion with God. And this is the meaning of the Scripture that ?where sin abounded grace shall much more abound.? Modern culture protests against the Puritan enthronement of goodness above truth. For the
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