adam & eve

As an Anglican I accept what Article IX says concerning Original Sin. However the two Genesis accounts of creation are  Middle Eastern and  Semitic  approaches to understanding the world. Adam and Eve are representative of humankind as we find ourselves in God’s creation. In a sense we are all Adam and Eve and in need of redemption by Christ. In the words of St Paul –  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23.)

“Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.”

The language is somewhat quaint, but the thrust of it is clear. I’ve always assumed that the Roman Catholic Church more or less believes the same.

The word “infection” is especially relevant – “And this infection of nature doth remain.”

We are fallen creatures. Nature is red hot in tooth and claw and that includes us.” Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is as relevant for to-day as when it was written by him. Paul begins with Christ and what God has done for us in Christ.

In the Greek Orthodox Church’s  Faith, the term “original sin” refers to the “first” sin of Adam and Eve. As a result of this sin, humanity bears the “consequences” of sin, the chief of which is death. Here the word “original” may be seen as synonymous with “first.” Hence, the “original sin” refers to the “first sin” in much the same way as “original chair” refers to the “first chair.”

In the West, humanity likewise bears the “consequences” of the “original sin” of Adam and Eve. However, the West also understands that humanity is likewise “guilty” of the sin of Adam and Eve. The term “Original Sin” here refers to the condition into which humanity is born, a condition in which guilt as well as consequence is involved.

In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.

While the Orthodox Church does accord Augustine of Hippo the title “saint” and recognizes the vast number of theological works he produced, Augustine was not as well known in the Christian East. His works were not translated into Greek until the 14th century; as such, he had little or no influence on mainstream Orthodox thought until 17th century.

It would be interesting to know the views of Lutherans and Calvinists believe.

Baptists and many other Evangelical Churches do not believe in infant baptism.

baby baptism

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