Free Will or Original Sin: We Can’t have Both!

· Christianity, CHRISTIANITY, Psychology

Written and Collected by Zia H Shah MD

Ignatius of Antioch was one of the Pioneers of Contradictory belief system of Trinitarian Christianity.  In logical terms Jesus cannot be man and God at the same time. Like a man cannot be a rock or an apple, at the same time; men, rocks and apples are different things!  Humans and God are different things, but the paradoxical Christian affirmation is called a mystery because you cannot logically explain how Jesus can be both things at once. This is why the rational and insightful Christian theologians label the Christian dogma as mysteries for you cannot logically understand them. Either you adamantly stick to them in the name of faith or you trade them for some other better theology!  Ignatius was one of the pioneers of these paradoxical views, to argue with Ebionites on the one hand and Marcionites on the other hand as the Christian doctrines were being born, in the first two centuries after Jesus crucifixion. Ignatius writes, “There is one physician who is both fleshly and spiritual, he is born and unborn, he is God come in the flesh, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond suffering, Jesus Christ our Lord!” He does not explain how Jesus could be both things at once, both mortal and immortal, both human and Divine, both born and unborn, but, over the centuries as these dogma have been indoctrinated into billions of minds, the naive now find these ideas common place and take them for granted.  Another of Christian dilemma is simultaneous belief in free will and Original Sin, as will be explained in this post.

Free will

No one forced you to read this article.  You may have landed here by chance, but, your choice to read it is yours and yours alone.  I did not force you, God did not force you and angels did not force you! The choice is yours and that is your free will, you have it.  Now raise your right hand, if you are not paralyzed, you will be able to raise it and it again shows you that you have free will and your actions are not predetermined.  Now you can put your hand down in a more comfortable position!

Most of this article is constructed by paragraphs picked up from different articles from Wikipedia.  The choice of the paragraphs, their order and the connections between them along with my annotations have allowed me to say what I intended to say.  I believe, I was completely free in my choices and determinism did not force my hand!

Free will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long been debated in philosophy. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been the metaphysical constraint of determinism. The two main positions within that debate are metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false and thus that free will exists (or is at least possible); and hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true and thus that free will does not exist.[1]  I, as a firm believer in Islam, believe that free will exists and therefore hard determinism is wrong.  Both of the above mentioned positions, which agree that causal determination is the relevant factor in the question of free will, are classed as incompatibilist.  So, I and most believing Muslims and Christians are incompatibilists by definition.  The principle of free will has religious, ethical, and scientific implications. For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotent divinity. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions.

Pierre Simon Laplace is one of the seventy two people to have their names on the Eiffel Tower. He was the scientist who made the tall claim, while talking to Napoleon about God, “Sir, I have no need of that hypothesis.” So strong was his belief in determinism and the scientific process that he said that given the knowledge of every atomic motion, the entire future of the universe could be mapped out. This was precisely the reason why Einstein did not believe in free will or accountability except for the horrific crimes of the Nazis.  Laplace wrote:

We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at any given moment knew all of the forces that animate nature and the mutual positions of the beings that compose it, if this intellect were vast enough to submit the data to analysis, could condense into a single formula the movement of the greatest bodies of the universe and that of the lightest atom; for such an intellect nothing could be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.

Like dominoes fall in a deterministic fashion, if Laplace or casual determinism is true then our choices are predetermined and we are not free to make them and hence do not have free will.  But, I believe that the twentieth century physics, as opposed to earlier physics has shown us that our world is indeterministic.  Quantum physics developed in the first 3-4 decades of twentieth century provides explanation and avenue not only for free will but also for God’s Providence.  In this post we will limit the discussion to free will.  For God’s Providence read another of my posts: Religion and Science: The Indispensable God-hypothesis.

Quantum Physics provides for free will

Early scientific thought often portrayed the universe as deterministic – for example in the thought of Democritus or the Cārvākans – and some thinkers claimed that the simple process of gathering sufficient information would allow them to predict future events with perfect accuracy. Modern science, on the other hand, is a mixture of deterministic and stochastic theories.[49] Quantum mechanics predicts events only in terms of probabilities, casting doubt on whether the universe is deterministic at all. Current physical theories cannot resolve the question of whether determinism is true of the world, being very far from a potential Theory of Everything, and open to many different interpretations.[50][51]

Erwin Schrödinger, a nobel laureate in physics and one of the founders of quantum mechanics, believed in free will. Near the end of his 1944 essay titled What Is Life? he says that there is “incontrovertible direct experience” that humans have free will. He also states that the human body is wholly or at least partially determined, leading him to conclude that “…’I’ -am the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the Laws of Nature.” He explains this position on free will by appealing to a notion of self that is emergent from the entire collection of atoms in his body, and other convictions about conscious experience. However, he also qualifies the conclusion as “necessarily subjective” in its “philosophical implications.”

Many an agnostic and atheist philosophers and scientists have an ideological commitment to deny free will.  As free will injects the possibility of transcendence and takes away from physicalism and invokes the possibility of a Transcendent God.  Under the assumption of physicalism it has been argued that the laws of quantum mechanics provide a complete probabilistic account of the motion of particles, regardless of whether or not free will exists.[55] Physicist Stephen Hawking describes such ideas in his 2010 book The Grand Design. According to Hawking, these findings from quantum mechanics suggest that humans are sorts of complicated biological machines; although our behavior is impossible to predict perfectly in practice, “free will is just an illusion.”  Hawking writes in Grand Design:

The molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets…so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.[4]

If Hawking is a little subtle in denial of free will, Sam Harris knighted as one of the four horsemen of neo-atheism, leaves no stone unturned, in his denial of free will.  In his recent booklet about free will, he writes:

It is generally argued that our experience of free will presents a compelling mystery: On the one hand, we can’t make sense of it in scientific terms; on the other, we foel that we are the authors of our own thoughts and actions. However, I think that this mystery is itself a symptom of our confusion. It is not that free will is simply an illusion–our experience is not merely delivering a distorted view of reality. Rather, we are mistaken about our experience. Not only are we not as free as we think we are-we do not feel as free as we think we do. Our sense of our own freedom results from our not paying close attention to what it is like to be us. The moment we pay attention, it is possible to see that free will is nowhere to be found, and our experience is perfectly compatible with this truth. Thoughts and intentions simply arise in the mind. What else could they do? The truth about us is stranger than many suppose: The illusion of free will is itself an illusion.

He continues his ramblings and play on the words in denial of free will:

The problem is not merely that free will makes no sense objectively (i.e., when our thoughts and actions are viewed from a third-person point of view); it makes no sense subjectively either. It is quite possible to notice this through introspection. In fact, I will now perform an experiment in free will for all to see: I will write any¬thing I want for the rest of this book. Whatever I write will, of course, be something I choose to write. No one is compelling me to do this. No one has assigned me a topic or demanded that I use certain words. I can be ungrammatical if I pleased. And if I want to put a rab¬bit in this sentence, I am free to do so.
But paying attention to my stream of consciousness reveals that this notion of freedom does not reach very deep. Where did this rabbit come from? Why didn’t I put an elephant in that sentence? I do not know. I am free to change “rabbit” to “elephant,” of course. But if I did this, how could I explain it? It is impossible for me to know the cause of either choice.[7]

All I can say in response to Harris is a thought experiment!  I wonder, what would be Harris’ response be, if some one were to slap him, while he utters these absurdities in a public forum?  Would he deny the free will of the perpetrator?  It is only a thought experiment, as I do not want anyone to resolve to physical violence in any dialogue.  If Sam Harris does not completely leave the perpetrator alone, in a manner of speaking, he will be holding him responsible and acknowledging his or her free will.

Contrasting the views of Harris and Hawking on the one hand and Schrödinger, on the other, it is clear that even among eminent physicists there is not unanimity regarding free will and usually they are divided along the lines of theism and atheism on this issue.

But, as we noted in Hawking’s quote above, agnostic and atheist scientists are increasingly denying free will and proposing it to be an illusion, created by complexity of our brains and psychology.  However, both Christianity and Islam suggest free will as they also propose that human souls survive our death and will be judged in the hereafter.  But, interestingly, Christianity proposes freedom to do good and bad on one hand and takes it away on the other, at least, the freedom to do good!  The Christian doctrine of Original Sin, seriously wounds humans ability to do good, at least for the non-Baptized Christians and for non-Christians.  The Catholic Church does concede that at least the Lutheran position, proposed by the pioneer of Protestantism, does take away free will. Catholic Encyclopedia states:

It is unjust, says another objection, that from the sin of one man should result the decadence of the whole human race. This would have weight if we took this decadence in the same sense that Luther took it, i.e. human reason incapable of understanding even moral truths, free will destroyed, the very substance of man changed into evil.[5]

Catholic Church has down played their own position, but, I do think that if we do a detailed analysis of Catholic position on eternal hell for non-believers, St. Augustine’s proposal that all non-baptized children are to go to hell and a detailed study of the Ecumenical Councils pertaining to Original Sin, we will find that their own defacto position is not far from that of Luther.  There may be difference in shade, but, the essence of the doctrine of Original Sin, in both Catholicism and Protestantism, is the same.

Original Sin

Now let us move to description of Original Sin.  Original sin is a condition, not something that people do: It’s the normal spiritual and psychological condition of human beings, not their bad thoughts and actions. Even a newborn baby who hasn’t done anything at all is damaged by original sin, according to the Christian dogma.[2]

The views about Original Sin differ from church to church and from time to time.  In the present time many a Protestant churches have more extreme views than the Catholics and this section is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion, but only a collection of information to show that many interpretations of Original Sin, take away human free will, at least to do good.  In this section, we will proceed from the most dramatic to least dramatic.

An interpretation of Augustine of Hippo‘s notion of original sin was strongly affirmed by the Protestant Reformer John Calvin. Calvin believed that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. This inherently sinful nature (the basis for the Calvinistic doctrine of “total depravity“) results in a complete alienation from God and the total inability of humans to achieve reconciliation with God based on their own abilities. Not only do individuals inherit a sinful nature due to Adam’s fall, but since he was the federal head and representative of the human race, all whom he represented inherit the guilt of his sin by imputation. Redemption by Jesus Christ is the only remedy.

John Calvin defined original sin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion as follows:

Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). And that is properly what Paul often calls sin. The works that come forth from it–such as adulteries, fornications, thefts, hatreds, murders, carousings–he accordingly calls “fruits of sin” (Gal 5:19-21), although they are also commonly called “sins” in Scripture, and even by Paul himself.[52]

The Methodist Church, founded by John Wesley, upholds Article VII in the Articles of Religion in the Book of Discipline of the Methodist Church:

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the 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 of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.[53]

Before Calvin developed a systematic theology of Augustinian Protestantism, Martin Luther asserted that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. The second article in Lutheranism‘s Augsburg Confession presents its doctrine of original sin in summary form:

It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Rejected in this connection are the Pelagians and others who deny that original sin is sin, for they hold that natural man is made righteous by his own powers, thus disparaging the sufferings and merit of Christ.[55]

Luther, however, also agreed with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (that Mary was conceived free from original sin) by saying:

[Mary] is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her.[56]

One wonders, how Mother Mary escaped laws of inheritance, according to Christian doctrine.  Christian apologists never fail to have their cake and eat it too!  However, issues pertaining to Mother Mary are not the central issue of this post, for that readers are referred to another of my posts: Maria: Pope Benedict XVI on the Mother of God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that Adam and Eve were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice” (CCC 375, 376 398), free from concupiscence (CCC 377). The preternatural state enjoyed by Adam and Eve afforded endowments with many prerogatives which, while pertaining to the natural order, were not due to human nature as such. Principal among these were a high degree of infused knowledge, bodily immortality and freedom from pain, and immunity from evil impulses or inclinations. In other words, the lower or animal nature in man was perfectly subjected to the control of reason and the will. Besides this, the Catholic Church teaches that our first parents were also endowed with sanctifying grace by which they were elevated to the supernatural order.[8] By sinning, however, Adam lost this original “state,” not only for himself but for all human beings (CCC 416).

Catechism of Catholic Church also states:

The Church’s teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine’s reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam’s fault to bad example. the first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable.[6]

As a result of original sin, according to Catholics, human nature has not been totally corrupted (as opposed to the teaching of Luther and Calvin); rather, human nature has only been weakened and wounded, subject to ignorance, suffering, the domination of death, and the inclination to sin and evil (CCC 405, 418). This inclination toward sin and evil is called “concupiscence” (CCC 405, 418). Baptism, Catholics believe, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God. The inclination toward sin and evil persists, however, and he must continue to struggle against concupiscence (CCC 2520).[3]

The Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, in their descriptions of Original Sin, try to argue for free will at the same time.  But, in my opinion the basic idea of Original Sin is at odds with free will, no matter, how intense is the Monday morning quarterbacking.  Now let me present the position of the Eastern Orthodox Church:

Eastern Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Church of the East, which together make up Eastern Christianity, acknowledge that the introduction of ancestral sin into the human race affected the subsequent environment for mankind (see also traducianism), but never accepted Augustine of Hippo’s notions of original sin and hereditary guilt.[42] The act of Adam is not the responsibility of all humanity, but the consequences of that act changed the reality of this present age of the cosmos. The Greek Fathers emphasized the metaphysical dimension of the Fall of Man, whereby Adam’s descendants are born into a fallen world, but at the same time held fast to belief that, in spite of that, man remains free.[2] Instead of accepting the Lutheran interpretation of Augustine‘s teaching, Orthodox Churches accept the teaching of John Cassian, which, like the that of the Latin Church and the Council of Trent,[43][44] rejects the doctrine of Total Depravity, by teaching that human nature is “fallen”, that is, depraved, but not totally.


If you genuinely believe in your free will, you cannot be an atheist, as atheism teaches physicalism and complete or hard determinism.  With your belief in free will you cannot be a Christian either, because of the dogma of Original Sin, as both cannot co-exist, if you remember that according to Luther, because of Original Sin, you are totally depraved. So, only real option, in my opinion, is Islam, the religion that is spreading at the fastest pace in the Western world.





4. Stephen Hawking.  The Grand Design.  Bantam Books, New York, 2010.  Page 32.



Clause 406.

7.  Sam Harris.  Free Will.  Free Press 2012.  Page 64-65.

References of Original Sin article in Wikipedia

  1. ^ The term “ancestral sin” is also used, as in Greek προπατορικὴ ἁμαρτία (e.g. Πόλεμος και φτώχεια – η ορθόδοξη άποψη, Η νηστεία της Σαρακοστής, Πώς στράφηκε ο Λούθηρος κατά του Μοναχισμού – του Γεωργίου Φλωρόφσκυ) or προπατορικὸ ἁμάρτημα (e.g. Απαντήσεις σε ερωτήματα δογματικά – Ανδρέα Θεοδώρου, εκδ. Αποστολικής Διακονίας, 1997, σελ. 156-161, Θεοτόκος και προπατορικό αμάρτημα)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Original Sin
  3. ^ Brodd, Jefferey (2003). World Religions. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5.
  4. ^ Judaism’s Rejection Of Original Sin
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Catechism of the Catholic Church, 405
  8. ^ John S. Romanides, “The Ancestral Sin (Zephyr Pub 2002 ISBN 978-0-9707303-1-2
  9. ^ While the traditional term in Latin Christiandom is “peccatum originale,” with reference to the “origin” of the human race, the traditional term in Greek is “προπατορική αμαρτία” (or “προπατορικό αμάρτημα”, more rarely “προγονική αμαρτία”), with reference to the “ancestor” of the human race). This is the term used also by Roman Catholics when speaking or writing in Greek.
  10. ^ Metropolis Basic Teachings of the Orthodox Faithby Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of Toronto (Canada): Original Sin and Its Consequences
  11. ^ Catechism of St. Philaret, questions 166, 167, 168
  12. ^ Johann Gerhard, Loci Theologici, 5.17, quoted by Henri Blocher, Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997), 19.
  13. ^ J. N. D. Kelly Early Christian Doctrines (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1978) p. 171, referred to in Daniel L. Akin, A Theology for the Church, p. 433
  14. ^ Daniel L. Akin, A Theology for the Church (B&H Publishing 2007 ISBN 978-0-8054-2640-3), p. 433
  15. ^ A. J. Wallace, R. D. Rusk, Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation (New Zealand: Bridgehead, 2011), pp. 255 & 258. ISBN 978-1-4563-8980-2
  16. ^ H. E. W. Turner, The Patristic Doctrine of the Redemption: A Study of the Development of Doctrine During the First Five Centuries (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2004) p. 71
  17. ^ Bernhard Lohse, A Short History of Christian Doctrine (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1966), p. 104
  18. ^ A. J. Wallace, R. D. Rusk, Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation (New Zealand: Bridgehead, 2011), p. 258. ISBN 978-1-4563-8980-2
  19. ^ Arthur C. McGiffert, A History of Christian Thought: Volume 1, Early and Eastern (New York; London: C. Scribner’s sons, 1932), p. 101
  20. ^ A. J. Wallace, R. D. Rusk, Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation (New Zealand: Bridgehead, 2011), pp. 258-259. ISBN 978-1-4563-8980-2
  21. ^ Augustine taught that Adam’s sin was both an act of foolishness (insipientia) and of pride and disobedience to God of Adam and Eve. He thought it was a most subtle job to discern what came first: self-centeredness or failure in seeing truth. Augustine wrote to Julian of Eclanum: Sed si disputatione subtilissima et elimatissima opus est, ut sciamus utrum primos homines insipientia superbos, an insipientes superbia fecerit (Contra Julianum, V, 4.18; PL 44, 795). This particular sin would not have taken place if Satan had not sown into their senses “the root of evil” (radix Mali): Nisi radicem mali humanus tunc reciperet sensus (Contra Julianum, I, 9.42; PL 44, 670)
  22. ^ Thomas Aquinas explained Augustine’s doctrine pointing out that the libido (concupiscence), which makes the original sin pass from parents to children, is not a libido actualis, i.e. sexual lust, but libido habitualis, i.e. a wound of the whole of human nature: Libido quae transmittit peccatum originale in prolem, non est libido actualis, quia dato quod virtute divina concederetur alicui quod nullam inordinatam libidinem in actu generationis sentiret, adhuc transmitteret in prolem originale peccatum. Sed libido illa est intelligenda habitualiter, secundum quod appetitus sensitivus non continetur sub ratione vinculo originalis iustitiae. Et talis libido in omnibus est aequalis (STh Iª-IIae q. 82 a. 4 ad 3).
  23. ^ Non substantialiter manere concupiscentiam, sicut corpus aliquod aut spiritum; sed esse affectionem quamdam malae qualitatis, sicut est languor. (De nuptiis et concupiscentia, I, 25. 28; PL 44, 430; cf. Contra Julianum, VI, 18.53; PL 44, 854; ibid. VI, 19.58; PL 44, 857; ibid., II, 10.33; PL 44, 697; Contra Secundinum Manichaeum, 15; PL 42, 590.
  24. ^ Augustine wrote to Julian of Eclanum: Quis enim negat futurum fuisse concubitum, etiamsi peccatum non praecessisset? Sed futurus fuerat, sicut aliis membris, ita etiam genitalibus voluntate motis, non libidine concitatis; aut certe etiam ipsa libidine – ut non vos de illa nimium contristemus – non qualis nunc est, sed ad nutum voluntarium serviente (Contra Julianum, IV. 11. 57; PL 44, 766). See also his late work: Contra secundam Iuliani responsionem imperfectum opus, II, 42; PL 45,1160; ibid. II, 45; PL 45,1161; ibid., VI, 22; PL 45, 1550-1551. Cf.Schmitt, É. (1983). Le mariage chrétien dans l’oeuvre de Saint Augustin. Une théologie baptismale de la vie conjugale. Études Augustiniennes. Paris. p. 104.
  25. ^ a b Justo L. Gonzalez (1970-1975). A History of Christian Thought: Volume 2 (From Augustine to the eve of the Reformation). Abingdon Press.
  26. ^ A. J. Wallace, R. D. Rusk, Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation (New Zealand: Bridgehead, 2011), pp. 284-285. ISBN 978-1-4563-8980-2
  27. ^ Decree 5 concerning original sin
  28. ^Infernum“, literally “underworld,” later identified as limbo.
  29. ^ “Limbo: Past Catholic statements on the fate of unbaptized infants, etc. who have died”[1]
  30. ^ Study by International Theological Commission (19 January 2007), The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized, 19-21
  31. ^ Study by International Theological Commission (19 January 2007), The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized, 22-25
  32. ^ Mark 10:14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4
  33. ^ Study by International Theological Commission (19 January 2007), The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized, secondary preliminary paragraph; cf. paragraph 41.
  34. ^ “Jansenius and Jansenism” in The Catholic Encyclopedia
  35. ^ Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. —Romans 5:12-14, ESV “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” —Rom. 5:18-21, ESV
  36. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 416-418
  37. ^ Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854) quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 491 [2]
  38. ^ Sexual desire is, according to bishop of Hippo, only one – though the strongest – of many physical realisations of that spiritual libido: Cum igitur sint multarum libidines rerum, tamen, cum libido dicitur neque cuius rei libido sit additur, non fere assolet animo occurrere nisi illa, qua obscenae partes corporis excitantur. Haec autem sibi non solum totum corpus nec solum extrinsecus, verum etiam intrinsecus vindicat totumque commovet hominem animi simul affectu cum carnis appetitu coniuncto atque permixto, ut ea voluptas sequatur, qua maior in corporis voluptatibus nulla est; ita ut momento ipso temporis, quo ad eius pervenitur extremum, paene omnis acies et quasi vigilia cogitationis obruatur. (De civitate Dei, XIV, 16; CCL 48, 438-439 [1-10]). See also: Schmitt, É. (1983). Le mariage chrétien dans l’oeuvre de Saint Augustin. Une théologie baptismale de la vie conjugale. Études Augustiniennes. Paris. p. 97.. See also Augustine’s: De continentia, 8.21; PL 40, 363; Contra Iulianum VI, 19.60; PL 44, 859; ibid. IV, 14.65, z.2, s. 62; PL 44, 770; De Trinitate, XII, 9. 14; CCL 50, 368 [verse: IX 1-8]; De Genesi contra Manicheos, II, 9.12, s. 60 ; CSEL 91, 133 [v.31-35]).
  39. ^ Regeneratus quippe non regenerat filios carnis, sed generat; ac per hoc in eos non quod regeneratus, sed quod generatus est, trajicit. (De gratia Christi et de peccato originali, II, 40.45; CSEL 42, 202[23-25]; PL 44, 407.
  40. ^ Cf. De civitate Dei, ch. IX and XIV; On the Gospel of John, LX (Christ’s feelings at the death of Lazarus, Jn 11)
  41. ^ J. Brachtendorf (1997). Cicero and Augustine on the Passions. p. 307. hdl:2042/23075.
  42. ^
  43. ^ Zackrison “of as total depravity” Edwin Zackrison, In the Loins of Adam (iUniverse 2004 ISBN 978-0-595-30716-6), p. 80
  44. ^ Geoffrey Rudolph Elton, Reformation Europe (Wiley-Blackwell 1999 ISBN 978-0-631-21384-0), p. 136
  45. ^ To the one who has lived without sin there is not darkness, no worm, no Gehenna, no fire, nor any other of these fearful names and things, as indeed the history goes on to say that the plagues of Egypt were not meant for the Hebrews. Since then in the same place evil comes to one but not to the other, the difference of free choices distinguishing each from the other, it is evident that nothing evil can come into existence apart from our free choice.” From St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “Life of Moses”, Book 2, Section titled ‘The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart and Free Will’
  46. ^ Item 407 in section Emphasis added.
  47. ^ Augustine Casiday, Tradition and Theology in St John Cassian (Oxford University Press 2007 ISBN 0-19-929718-5), p. 103
  48. ^ a b Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XI/John Cassian/Conferences of John Cassian, Part II/Conference XIII/Chapter 11 s:Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XI/John Cassian/Conferences of John Cassian, Part II/Conference XIII/Chapter 11
  49. ^ Conferences By John Cassian, Colm Luibhéid
  51. ^ Lauren Pristas, The Theological Anthropology of John Cassian
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It is generally argued that our experience of free will presents a compelling mystery: On the one hand, we can’t make sense of it in scientific terms; on the other, we foel that we are the authors of our own thoughts and actions. However, I think that this mystery is itself a symptom of our confusion. It is not that free will is simply an illu­sion–our experience is not merely delivering a distorted view of reality. Rather, we are mistaken about our experi­ence. Not only are we not as free as we think we are-we do not feel as free as we think we do. Our sense of our own freedom results from our not paying close attention to what it is like to be us. The moment we pay attention, it is possible to see that free will is nowhere to be found, and our experience is perfectly compatible with this truth. Thoughts and intentions simply arise in the mind. What else could they do? The truth about us is stranger than many suppose: The illusion of free will is itself an illusion.

The problem is not merely that free will makes no


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  1. reyjacobs

    Nobody is going to convert from Christianity to Islam over the subject of freewill/original sin. We’ve already got Deism in the west, which was born as a result of this issue, as well as Unitarianism. We don’t need Islam. Sorry to disappoint you my friend (actually not that sorry) but we don’t need a ceremonial-legalist religion like Islam that demands you pray a certain number of times a day in a certain position and wash your feet before/after you pray and all the rest of the silliness of your religion including your allowance polygamy while you make women cover up from head to toe (talk about a contradiction).

    • reyjacobs

      Plus, in case you didn’t know, there are Christian sects that deny original sin like the Mormons and others who are considered ‘cults’ by the Baptists/Lutherans/Methodists/Catholics and others who accept original sin. One such church is called simply “the church of Christ” and was born out of the Restoration Movement in America in the 1700s which its members believe restored pure Christianity which had been destroyed by the above mentioned denominations. Mormonism believes something similar about Joseph Smith restoring the church. So, in other words, the West already has plenty of options for those who find the concept of ‘original sin’ disgusting. Judaism is another option, since Judaism doesn’t teach original sin, and I wager more Americans would convert to Judaism than Islam if they were to leave Christianity over ‘original sin.’

  2. civitate

    in reply to your argument against original sin and in favour of Islam because of Madagascar proving evolution i’d say that is utterly absurd. Muslims believe that adam was the first prophet so to say that he never existed causes some theological problems for islam as well. However church fathers have a long history of interpreting genesis allegorically so evolution in no way damages christian belief. We are not bound by literal interpretations. Get your facts straight

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