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Arminius on The Effects of the Sin of Our First Parents

DISPUTATION XXXI

ON THE EFFECTS OF THE SIN OF OUR FIRST PARENTS

I. The first and immediate effect of the sin which Adam and Eve committed in eating of the forbidden fruit, was the offending of the Deity, and guilt — Offense, which arose from the prohibition imposed — Guilt, from the sanction added to it, through the denunciation of punishment, if they neglected the prohibition.

II. From the offending of the Deity, arose his wrath on account of the violated commandment. In this violation, occur three causes of just anger:

(1.) The disparagement of his power or right.

(2.) A denial of that towards which God had an inclination.

(3.) A contempt of the divine will intimated by the command.

III. Punishment was consequent on guilt and the divine wrath; the equity of this punishment is from guilt, the infliction of it is by wrath. But it is preceded both by the wounding of the conscience, and by the fear of an angry God and the dread of punishment. Of these, man gave a token by his subsequent flight, and by “hiding himself from the presence of the Lord God, when he heard him walking in the garden in the cool of the day and calling unto Adam.”

IV. The assistant cause of this flight and hiding [of our first parents] was a consciousness of their own nakedness, and shame on account of that of which they had not been previously ashamed. This seems to have served for racking the conscience, and for exciting or augmenting that fear and dread.

V. The Spirit of grace, whose abode was within man, could not consist with a consciousness of having offended God; and, therefore, on the perpetration of sin and the condemnation of their own hearts, the Holy Spirit departed. Wherefore, the Spirit of God likewise ceased to lead and direct man, and to bear inward testimony to his heart of the favour of God. This circumstance must be considered in the place of a heavy punishment, when the law, with a depraved conscience, accused, bore its testimony [against them], convicted and condemned them.

VI. Beside this punishment, which was instantly inflicted, they rendered themselves liable to two other punishments; that is, to temporal death, which is the separation of the soul from the body; and to death eternal, which is the separation of the entire man from God, his chief good.

VII. The indication of both these punishments was the ejectment of our first parents out of Paradise. It was a token of death temporal; because Paradise was a type and figure of the celestial abode, in which consummate and perfect bliss ever flourishes, with the translucent splendour of the divine Majesty. It was also a token of death eternal, because, in that garden was planted the tree of life, the fruit of which, when eaten, was suitable for continuing natural life to man without the intervention of death. This tree was both a symbol of the heavenly life of which man was bereft, and of death eternal, which was to follow.

VIII. To these may be added the punishment peculiarly inflicted on the man and the woman — on the former, that he must eat bread through “the sweat of his face,” and that “the ground, cursed for his sake, should bring forth to him thorns and thistles;” on the latter, that she should be liable to various pains in conception and child-bearing. The punishment inflicted on the man had regard to his care to preserve the individuals of the species, and that on the woman, to the perpetuation of the species.

IX. But because the condition of the covenant into which God entered with our first parents was this, that, if they continued in the favour and grace of God by an observance of this command and of others, the gifts conferred on them should be transmitted to their posterity, by the same divine grace which they had, themselves, received; but that, if by disobedience they rendered themselves unworthy of those blessings, their posterity, likewise, should not possess them, and should be liable to the contrary evils. This was the reason why all men, who were to be propagated from them in a natural way, became obnoxious to death temporal and death eternal, and devoid of this gift of the Holy Spirit or original righteousness. This punishment usually receives the appellation of “a privation of the image of God,” and “original sin.”

X. But we permit this question to be made a subject of discussion: Must some contrary quality, beside the absence of original righteousness, be constituted as another part of original sin? though we think it much more probable, that this absence of original righteousness, only, is original sin, itself, as being that which alone is sufficient to commit and produce any actual sins whatsoever.

XI. The discussion, whether original sin be propagated by the soul or by the body, appears to us to be useless; and therefore the other, whether or not the soul be through traduction, seems also scarcely to be necessary to this matter.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/22/2012 at 10:31 AM

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