Monday, July 22, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on the Sin Nature

Early Christian Quotes on the Sin Nature

The Shepherd of Hermas 

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 9, Chapter 32:


The angel said, “What do you think the Lord will do to you, who gave you a sound spirit but which you have rendered completely useless so that it can’t be of any service to its possessor?”



Tertullian’s A Treatise on the Soul

(Early 3rd Century)

Chapter 40:


Every soul, through its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ. It is unclean as long as it is not regenerated in Christ, and because it is unclean, it is actively sinful and contaminates the flesh with its own shame.



Tertullian’s A Treatise on the Soul

(Early 3rd Century)

Chapter 41:


Besides the evil that comes later on the soul from the influence of the evil spirit, a prior, and in a certain sense natural, evil arises from the soul’s corrupt origin. For the corruption of our nature is another nature having a god and father of its own, namely the author of corruption. Still, there is a portion of good in the soul, of that original, divine, and genuine good, which is its proper nature. For that nature that was derived from God is obscured in us rather than completely extinguished. It can be obscured because it is not God Himself; it cannot be extinguished, however, because it comes from God.



Commodianus’ Instructions

(Mid-3rd Century)

Chapter 35:


Adam was the first who fell. Belial tempted him with the desire of the tree so that he would shun the command of God. And Adam conferred on us what he did, whether of good or of evil, as being the chief of all who were born from him. So, we die by his means, as he himself, receding from the divine, became an outcast from the Word.



Cyprian’s Letter to Fidus

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 5:


Regarding how early infants should be baptized, if remission of sins is given even to the greatest sinners, and to those who had sinned much against God, when they later believed—and nobody is hindered from baptism and from grace—how much more should we let an infant be baptized?


An infant, having been born recently, has not sinned himself. His sin is a result of being born after the flesh according to Adam. He has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at his earliest birth. So, he receives the forgiveness of sins more easily because his own sins are not counted against him but only the sins of another.


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Find more of what the early Christians thought on my Christian History page!

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