The Nature Of Sin Pelagius View Theology Religion Essay

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In the early history the origin of sin was one of the major issue, Pelagius and Augustine fought about in their understanding about original sin. Many scholars' believed that sin did not affect human race when Adam and Eve were sin. Many believed was based on the scripture says that when Adam and Eve were sin in the Garden of Eden all human that born after them were affected by their sin. The purpose of this essay was to compare and contrast two prominent people on their view in original sin. The essay will cover the following points. First, the essay will talk about the nature of sin. How do Pelagius and Augustine understand the nature of sin? Secondly, we will discover the how they understand the Freedom of the will. Thirdly, how grace were understand by them. And finally the essay will give some implication in relation to these two scholars. The essay will cover the above point through this point we will see their arguments and the differences between them.



Humans are born sinless. According to Pelagius view he portrait from his writing that when human being was born he was born sinless. This means that Adam sin does not affect his descendents. The sin that was committed by Adam and Eve was only applied to them because of their own choice. For that very Pelagius look at every individual that born after Adam was free from sin. According to our note from the class it stated that "Pelagius view says that God created all human beings with their power to act now it depend on them to will and to engage in the action" [1] here you can see the point Pelagius trying to portrait is that all human being are created by God with the power to make their own choice. For that reason sin Adam and Eve fall into was not for all. Therefore he said that sin did not affect any descendent of Adam. For example "for Pelagius the human power of self improvement could not be thought of as being compromise. It was always possible for humans to discharge their obligation towards God." [2] These carry the idea that man is born sinless until he or she make a choice to do evil; so here we can see that Pelagius viewed on sin was that when we born to this earth we born sinless. Millard commented that according to Pelagius view "there is no direct connection between Adam's sin and the rest of the human race." [3] This is the main idea Pelagius have in his mind, sin have no room in human being when they born. Earle E Carns commented that Pelagius believed that each man is created free as Adam was and that man has the Power to choose good and evil. The universality of sin in the world is explained by the weakness of human flesh rather than by corruption of the human will by original sin." [4] From the above information give s that fact that Pelagius view on original is that we not affected by sin.


Sin affected all human races. Augustine from his personal experience he come up with a view that sin that was done by Adam and Eve our first parents affect all of us. Augustine based his view in Romans 5:12. " therefore ,just as the sin entered the world through one man ,and death through sin and in this way death came to all people because all sinned" this is the verse that Augustine based his view to depend his arguments with Pelagius view on sin. According to Louis Berklof "Augustine dose not regard sin as something positive but a negation or privation" [5] so here we see that Augustine view on sin was very different of what Pelagius viewed sin. Earle E Carns stated that Augustine view was that " Man was original made in the image of God and free to choose good and evil but Adam's sin bounded all Men because Adam was the head of the race." [6] For that very fact his view was that we are affected by sin through Adam.


Looking at these two views we will find that there are many arguments and debate about his two views. As you can see in Pelagius view he argues the point that man was born sinless when they are born. He added that when human being is born they were born natural. Meaning to say Adam was not born to positive holiness however he has the ability to perform that duty to reach that holiness. His main argument here is that when we born to this earth we born just like Adam. Louis commented that Pelagius said that "there is no hereditary transmission of a sinful nature or of guilt and consequently no such thing as original sin." [7] Here we find that Pelagius simply denied total depravity of human nature. Millard and Arnold added that "Pelagius maintain that the soul, created by God especially for every person is not tainted by any supposed corruption or guilt" [8] . However Augustine argues to that point that if that's the case we not need that grace. Grace will explain more in later discussion.

However Augustine argue to the point that human being affected by sin. From his experience he tried very hard to do good for that reason we found he prayed to God for confession. Augustine "he finds its root principle of sin in that self love which is substituted for the love of God." [9] fro Augustine since that sin affect all human race the love that God sent his son replace that broken relationship. That relationship was broken because of sin. To extend more on it Augustine look at Pelagius that he rejected the importance of Christ death. Christ death is here because of sin. If we born neutral like Adam as Pelagius have said; Christ is meaningless to us. Augustine believes that we are descendents of Adam therefore we are sin. That connection makes as sinner. Pelagius denied the hereditary however Augustine here supported that we are sin through hereditary connection. According to E Glern Hinson he commented that Pelagius said that if Adam's sin works against those who do not sin, Christ righteousness is efficacious for these who did not believe however Augustine responded the infant too, are the believers and benefit from what parents and sponsors do for them." [10] Pelagius maintain his arguments that sin did not affect any human being when they born, hence we see that Augustine continue to argue the point that we are affected by sin through this Adam.

Pelagius also argue his point which Augustine did not agree with. He said the sin was done willfully. Alister commented that Pelagius said that "humanity is born sinless and sin only through deliberate actions." [11] Pelagius stand on the position that sin never affects all human races. We are born like Adam before sin. When we did not following Gods law and obligation sin will come to us. Looking back at Augustine prayer we found out that Pelagius see that the prayer was "asking for God encouragements and strength; however Pelagius said we already design by God to carry out his own will why do we need God." [12] Here we find that Pelagius maintain his arguments that we are born sinless.

The above points give us very clear picture that these two people have different views and they depend their view. To Augustine we are affected by sin through Adam for that reason what we did was reflecting sinful nature. On the other hand Pelagius said that sin was only come to us when we make wrong choice. We are born with a capacity of doing right or wrong. All these were given to us when we are born.



We have born with freedom of will. Since that we are born sinless and neutral we are having freedom of will with us. To Pelagius this is how he sees our freedom of choice. According to Collins encyclopedia Pelagius said that "use of our native powers alone since nothing but free will is need to practice virtue and keep out from sin." From this source we can say that Pelagius concept on will was given to us when we born; so Pelagius here uphold view that freedom of will was given to us to choice not be to sin and sin. In other words we did not need any more power from God since all these things given to us.


Our freedom of will was bias towards evil. Augustine view on freedom of will as doing evil every time. Based from his confession he struggle of doing right on his own power. This primary source helps us to see that Augustine views freedom of will as destroyed when Adam our first parents sinned. This what he said from his confession "I probed the hidden depths of my soul and wrung its secrets from it and when I gathered them all before the eyes of my heart, a great storm broke within me, bringing with a great deluge of tears …for I felt that I was still enslaved by my sins, and my in my misery I kept crying how long shall I go on saying "tomorrow, tomorrow '? Why not now? Why not make an end of my ugly sins at this moment"? [13] This prayer helps us to see that sin destroy our freedom of will for that reason Augustine said this prayer. The possibility of doing well in own power cannot happen because of sin.


Both views argue were argued by them. To Pelagius every human are responsible on their own sin. Since they born with sinless like Adam before sin they have that freedom to choose. Alister commented that "for Pelagius humanity possessed total freedom of the will and was totally responsible for its own sin." [14] He argues to point that we are created and free human nature. These points help us to see that Pelagius did not accept that Augustine says about the freedom of the will. For him there is no need to pray for God to be forgiven; this entire thing was already given to us when we are created. This lead Pelagius see that perfection can be attain through following the obligation. Justification by works highlighted here. However Augustine did not accept that view. Earle E Carns commented that Augustine stated that "Mans will is entirely corrupted by the fall so that he must be considered totally depraved and unable to exercise his own will regarding salvation. He believes that all inherit sin through Adam that no one therefore can escape original sin." [15] In fact that original sin destroys our freedom of will. The freedom is basically to choose evil for that reason Augustine in his discussion we need God's grace.

However Augustine sees Pelagius view as heresy because according to the bible all human was sinned through Adam. Augustine experiences it that doing do in our own will was not possible. For Augustine our freedom of will was destroyed by sin. This how he argue his point "there are two scale of pan when the scale was loaded both side depend on the weight of the load' if one side heavy the scale will still work however it will not balance" [16] this what sin and freedom of will do. That we did was bias towards doing evil. We have the high tendency of doing bad things because of sin. Therefore Augustine concluded that our freedom of will was total distorted by sin.



Grace was not really important. Pelagius view on grace was that since that human being is born sinless and has freedom of the will grace is not needed. The grace already been with us when we born he added. Our lecture note said that Pelagius view was that "grace is God's work to assist the capacity to be able to the good. But this was not all. In this grace, God also provide people with free will, including not to sin." [17] for Pelagius grace is something already within us that is why we able to choose good, however Pelagius said that this not all grace is very little part in human life. Grace was already inputted in us, we have to perform it to that standard in order to be saved. This view leads to point that we are justified by works. Millard and Arnold commented that "A salvation by works is thus quite possible although that is something of a misnomer since we are not really sinful guilt and condemnation." [18] This is what Pelagius heading towards and believes on it.


We need God's grace. To Augustine Grace is very important in our lives. Since that sin affect our lives there's no any other means to be saved but through Gods grace. He builds his view from his previous point. For example he view sin as affected all of us and our freedom of the will was affected to restore all these we need God's grace. Basically this what Augustine views on sin? Augustine main Text was John 15:5" apart from me you can do nothing, we are totally depended upon God for our Salvation from being the end of our lives" he added that human nature requires transformation through the grace of God. [19] . To Augustine Grace of God is very vital for every individual person on this earth. Without the grace of God we will lost.


Their argument here was very clear; Pelagius denied the grace of God as important while Augustine supported that fact that we need grace of God. Let's look to Pelagius argument on Grace of God. Pelagius argued that if we depended on God' grace what will be the work of the commandments. He insisted that Grace is external; it was provided by God through his enlightenment. For example "Ten commandments and the moral example of Jesus Christ grace informs us what our moral duties are" [20] her we can see that for Pelagius grace was there to informs us about our moral duties which to follow the ten commandments and live sinless. Therefore Pelagius added that "we are unable to avoid sin through teaching and example of Jesus Christ" [21] .

On the other hand Augustine argues that Grace was needed. Grace was the divine assistance to humanity, rather than just moral guides. Augustine sees that grace was real not an external like Pelagius said, grace was real because God demonstrated that in the cross. In creation we are born perfect however when affected Adam sin and eve we are all affected and the only way to save was grace Augustine argued. Grace rescue us from that sin therefore grace is something internal rather than external. So here we see that both views have their points. To Augustine we see that God's grace is important because we are sinned. But Pelagius he insisted that grace is already their when we born, it helps us to follow our religious duties. Lohse P fortress comment that "Pelagius regarded the righteousness of Gods as demanding and judging righteousness" [22] this is very true because in his argument we see that he point was heading towards righteousness by Works. On the other hand we see Augustine see that we can only do good things through grace. Since that sin was pride Augustine maintain the point accepting God grace is through humbleness of the hearts.

Some implication.

Reading through these two viewers you will find many implication if you decide to following one of teaching. Let's look to Pelagius what are some possible implication we can learn from his view. The first implication that we can learn from his teaching is that ignoring that fact that we are sinners. If we following his teaching we are heading toward s that pointy that we are upholding what he teach. Ignoring our sinful nature was one of the major implications can have here in Pelagius view? For that Reason we have to see that implication about his teaching.

In addition to that we can also lead to the stage that we did not need Jesus any more; due to the point that we are sinless. Depending on God will be also one Major implication. Because only sinner needs Christ, therefore if we following his teaching we are heading towards his believes.

Further more on that we not only follow the above point but we also reject the salvation message. The grace was totally rejected here. For him grace was something that already within us when we are born. Because of this he strongly argues to that point that we do not need grace. This type of rational thinking is very high we follow his teaching. So the implication from Pelagius view is that we will deny the whole purpose of salvation planned. Because plan of salvation was given to us because we are sinner.

On the other hand Augustine views have its implication as well. Looking to his view the implication we can learn is that we acknowledge the fact that we are sinners. For Augustine this most important thing to recognize as human being. We have to know that we are sinner does not have any ability to do right. This is the major implication here.

To extend on that because we are sinner the grace of God was fully needed. This grace is the only way to help us in our lives. So here we see that Augustine implication is that we are nothing unless we come to God. Jesus is the source of everything, that's what Augustine trying to say here in his teaching. Therefore we follow his teaching most likely we have to acknowledge the fact that we are sinner and we need Christ to direct us and to do right choice in life. So for Augustine sin affects all human races unlikely Pelagius denied that we are sinners.