The Fall and Sin

Ian McFarland

in The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199245765
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 The Fall and Sin

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Sin and the fall refer respectively to the character and origin of human resistance to God. In the Augustinian tradition, the doctrine of original sin functions as a means of bringing these two concepts together by viewing the present fact of sin as the universal outworking of a primordial fall. To confess oneself as fallen is to see sin as a congenital feature of human existence rather than something acquired over time. The most basic theological function of the doctrine of original sin is to magnify divine grace by stressing the utter impotence of human beings to guarantee their own existence before God.

Keywords: original sin; God; Augustine; primordial fall; Christianity; divine grace

Article.  9412 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion

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