The GOSPEL TRUTH
AN HISTORICAL PRESENTATION OF
AUGUSTINISM AND PELAGIANISM
G. F. WIGGERS, D. D.
Theory of the Pelagians on the state of man before the fall. Opposite theory of Augustine.
The Augustinian theory of original sin, first receives its full light through Augustine's doctrine of the state of man before the fall. Nay, this is inseparably connected with that. Here, then, is a fit place to introduce it, and to exhibit it in contrast with the Pelagian doctrine on the state of the first man before transgression.
How the primitive state of man was considered by both sides, may in general be anticipated. From opposite opinions of original sin, must opposite theories spontaneously shape themselves concerning the state of Adam before he sinned.
According to the Pelagian doctrine, the state of man before the fall was the same as it is now. For as there is, by that theory, no imputation of Adam's guilt and punishment, there can, by the same theory, be nothing lost from the original state of man. The first man had therefore perception, understanding, and freedom of will, by which he could either sin or not sin. But his body was subject to disease and death, just as at present. If Pelagius himself did not expressly teach this last, yet his followers did. The words in Genesis: "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death," they therefore could not understand, with Augustine, of bodily death, but must have referred to spiritual death, i.e., sin; an explanation which Augustine assailed in his first work against the Pelagians. According to their view, the primitive state of the first man, was superior only in this, that no example of sinning had yet been presented for imitation, and the first man, who came into the world as an adult, had the full use of reason at the beginning, and hence had likewise his freedom. And in this sense, the Pelaginas could say, that men are not now born in the same state in which Adam was created. Finally; in his physical and moral condition, the first man was as man now is. Even concupiscence, which Augustine held as something evil, and as the mother of all evil, but the Pelagians explained as a natural passion, was found in paradise.
That this was the Pelagian doctrine concerning the earliest state of the first man, scarcely needs any further proof, since it follows from the Pelagian view of the present structure of man's moral nature. Still the following passages may serve for further confirmation: "God who is just as he is good, has so made man, that he might be free from sin if he would," said Pelagius in his book on nature. See Aug. De Nat. et Gr. 43. With this, compare the delineation of the prerogatives of human nature, in the letter of Pelagius to Demetrias, c. 2, where no mention at all is made of a different state of Adam before and after the fall. According to this picture, God determined, before he created him, to make the man whom he designed to produce, after his own image and likeness. He designed that man should know the dignity of his nature, from his admirable dominion over the strong beasts. For God left him not naked and helpless. He did not expose him, weak, to the various dangers. He at least armed him most strongly within with reason and ingenuity, so that he alone, by the gifts of the spirit, whereby he is superior to all other animals, knew the Creator of all things, and served God by the same endowments that enabled him to rule the rest of creation. Still, the Lord of righteousness designed that he should act voluntarily, not by compulsion. Hence he left him to his own deliberation, placing before him life and death, good and evil; And whatever would please him, was to be given him, as God said to the Israelites in the fifth book of Moses. Only we should guard against the stumbling block of the ignorant multitude, as though man were not made truly good, because he can do evil, and is not violently impelled by his nature to good, etc. "Freewill," says Julian, "is as much freewill since the fall, as it was before." Op. Imp. I. 91. Natural blessings, among which Julian reckons freewill, were "inadmissible." VI. 19 "Both of us," says Augustine to Julian, "pronounce Adam's nature good, since we say, that it could refrain from sinning, if it chose not to sin; but I consider it better than you do, since I maintain, that it also could not die, if it had refused to sin." VI. 16. According to Julian, "man is made mortal naturally, and not as a punishment." III. 156. "Not only imperious lust, but also oppressive fever, and all the other innumerable diseases by which we see children suffer and die, according to your theory, would have been found in paradise, though no one had sinned." II. 236. Still, however, according to a passage in the letter he sent to Rome, in which he approached the Augustinian orthodoxy as nearly as he possibly could, (as appears by a passage quoted from the same letter by Mercator, in his Commonitorium, Ap. p. 116), Julian admitted that Adam was created immortal, in the sense that, if he had not sinned, he would have obtained immortality by eating of the tree of life. And according to a passage in Augustine (Op. Imp. VI. 30), he said that he would not contend with those who believed that Adam, if he had remained obedient, might have become immortal by way of reward. But his natural state is to be distinguished from the reward of obedience. And if Adam had obtained immortality, still, the native mortality would have shown itself in his posterity.
But the Pelagians might always have admitted, that Adam's sin not only injured him, but also his posterity, because it presented an example of sin for their imitation. They could also allow, without contradicting their dogma of the nonexistence of original sin, that men are not now born in the same state as Adam was before transgression, since Adam, as an adult, was endowed with reason and freedom, but his posterity are born without the use of reason. In this sense, Pelagius himself condemned the proposition, at Diospolis, that "Adam's sin has injured him only, and not the human race and that infants are in the same state in which Adam was before sin." And hence he granted, in his book on freewill, that he had condemned it in this sense; and in perfect consistency with this, is the opinion he afterwards expressed, that children are born without sin, and that nothing is found in them but what God has created. De Pec. Orig. 15. With this compare the quotations from the above mentioned epistle of Julian, in Mercator (Common. Ap. p. 115 sq.) in which Julian, in order to remove the reproach of heterodoxy from himself and his accomplices, rejected much of Pelagianism, but still adopted views on such points, different from the Augustinian. He yielded something, however, in order to conciliate Augustine, which stands in contradiction with his later and full explanations in his writings against Augustine.
Furthermore; since the Pelagians regarded concupiscence, of which Augustine had so much evil to say, as a good and natural attribute of human nature, being of use in a lawful and proper way, and indispensable to the propagation of the human race, they had therefore to adroit its existence in paradise, Op. Imp. III. 212; VI. 16. Julian called concupiscence, when kept within its prescribed limits, "a natural and innocent affection." I. 71.
Augustine, on the other hand, had to attribute to man, in his original state, all which he lost, according to his theory, by the fall, and which was lost to the whole race by original sin. Hence Adam had a perfectly faultless and sinless nature. This faultless and sinless nature, both moral and physical, he possessed because he had not, like his descendants, been born of sinful parents. "Who does not know, that man was made sane and faultless, and furnished with freewill and free power for holy living?" De Nat. et Gr. 43. "Adam was not made like us, because, without the preceding sin of a progenitor, he was not made in the flesh of sin." De Pec. Mer. I. 37.
As belonging to this original and good state, in which the first man was found, Augustine reckons the following things.
1. Adam had an intelligent and rational nature, in which Augustine places the image of God. He possessed a perfect understanding, so that the wisest of his descendants cannot be at all compared with him. "Such was his power of mind and use of reason, that Adam docilely received the precept of God and the law of commandment, and might easily have kept them if he would." Ib. "As man, since the fall, is renewed in the knowledge of God after the image of him that created him, so was he also created in that knowledge itself, before he became old by sin, from which he needs again to be renewed in the same knowledge." De Gen. id Lit. III. 20. "The image of God, impressed on the spirit of the mind, which Adam lost, we again obtain by the grace or righteousness." VI. 27. Hence he says, In the inward man, Adam was spiritual, after the image of him that created him, referring to the words of Paul, Ye are renewed in the spirit of your mind, etc. VI. 28. "Not only the clearest reason, but also the authority of the apostle himself, teaches, that man was created in the image of God, not in the form of his body, but in respect to the rational mind." De Trio. XII. 7. For this, he appeals to Eph. 4:23. Col. 3:9. Comp. Conff. XIII. 22,23. Augustine attributes to Adam "the most excellent wisdom," and regards it as a proof of the corruption of our nature, that genius and bravery are now so rare among men. Even Pythagoras considered those as the wisest who first gave names to things. But Adam did this. And if we had not known this of him, yet we might have inferred his exquisite nature, from his having no corruption. The most talented of our time, regard themselves, in comparison with Adam's genius, as tortoises to birds in point of speed, etc. Op. Imp. V. 1. "As all was learned in paradise, which was useful to be known there, that blessed nature obtained it without labor or pain, as it was either taught by God or by nature herself." VI. 9.
2. Adam had freedom of will, so that he could sin or refrain from sinning. "But who of us says, that freewill perished from the human race, by the sin of the first man? Liberty, indeed, perished by sin; but that liberty which was in paradise, of having complete righteousness with immortality." C. Duas Epp. Pel. 1. 2. Adam was made with freedom to good." Op. Imp. II. 7. "The first man had not the grace to cause him never to will to be evil. God left it to his freewill whether he would persevere in the good will." De Cor. et Gr. 11. Augustine made a distinction between "being able not to sin," and "not being able to sin," (posse non peccare, and non posse peccare). 12. The first, man possessed before the fall; the last is the portion of the saints after this life. "The first man did not receive from God the gift of perseverance in good, but perseverance or non-perseverance, was left to his freewill. For his will, which was constituted without sin, and which no passion resisted, had such power, that the decision of perseverance was properly left to such great goodness and such great facility of holy living." Ib. "By freewill, which then had its powers uncorrupted, the first pair undoubtedly did whatever they would, i.e., they obeyed the divine law, not only with no impossibility (nulla impossibilitate), but even with no difficulty." Op. Imp. VI. 8. "That man had so very free will, that he obeyed the law of God with great energy of mind." IV. 14. "Man could have refrained from sin, if he had willed not to sin." VI. 16. "It depended entirely on the liberty of the first man, to refrain from that which he inordinately desired." VI. 17. "Man was so made, that he had, of necessity, the possibility of sinning; but sin itself, only in possibility. But he would not have had even the possibility of sinning, if he had been of the nature of God; for he would have been immutable, and could not have sinned. He did not therefore sin in consequence of being made out of nothing, but might have refrained from sinning." V. 60. "God is an immutable good. Man also, in respect to the nature in which God made him, is indeed a good; but not an immutable good, like God." De Gen. ad Lit. VIII. 14. "God, the author of natures, but not of blemishes, made man right, but when he became voluntarily corrupt and was condemned, he begat the corrupt and the condemned." De Civ. Dei, XIII. 14. Since Adam's freewill was originally adapted to good, Augustine also said, that man was furnished by God with a good will; for which he appealed to Ecc. 7:29. He was disposed to obey God, and obediently received his command. This he could fulfil without difficulty, as long as he chose; and, when he chose, could transgress without necessity. The good will, Augustine attributed to the first man, in opposition to Julian, who only attributed the possibility of a good will to the nature of man, but the good will itself, he ascribed to the man himself, that he might not encroach on freewill. Op. Imp. V. 61. Hence Augustine attributed a merit (meritum) to man before the fall; and indeed, according to his use of terms, a "good merit," in the good will, which was aided by grace, and an "evil merit" in the perverted will, which forgot God. De Civ. Dei, XIV. 27.
According to Augustine, therefore, man did not possess any such perfection of will, that he could not sin at all, for he even did sin; nor did the first man possess holiness and righteousness, which have since been attributed to him, (not very philosophically, to be sure,) as the image of God; but a moral freedom of will, by which it was ever possible to sin, although the fulfilling of the divine command, was easy to him. In a work not relating to the Pelagian controversies (De Gen. ad Lit. VI. 27), Augustine indeed says, in quoting Paul's words--Put ye on the new man which is created according to God, in righteousness and holiness of truth--that Adam lost this by sin. But Augustine here no more takes righteousness and holiness in the philosophical sense, than did the apostle himself. But Augustine sought to make the possibility of sinning manifest, by this, that man, in respect to his better part, the soul, was created out of nothing, and therefore did not belong to the nature of God, the immutable good. De Nupt. et Conc. II. 28; Op. Imp. V. 31 sqq.
3. Van needed the grace of "assistance" even before the fall without which, he could not have persevered in good if he would. "God had given man an assistance, without which he could not have persevered in good if he would. He could persevere if he would, because that aid (adutorium) did not fail, by which he could. Without this, he could not retain the good which he might will." De Cor. et Gr. 11. This aid, which was given to the first man, was, however, different from that aid of grace, which is now afforded to the elect. Respecting this difference, Augustine thus explains himself "Freewill was sufficient for sin; but not adequate to good, unless aided by the omnipotent good. If man had not voluntarily abandoned this aid, he would have been always good: but he abandoned, and was abandoned. For this aid was such as he could abandon when he would, and in which he might remain if he would; but not by which he might become what he would. This is the first grace which was given to the first Adam; but a more powerful than this, in the second Adam. For by the first aid, man might have righteousness if he would. The second can effect more; by which it comes to pass, that he wills, and so strongly wills and so ardently loves, that, by the will of the spirit, he conquers the will of the flesh, that lusts for the opposite things. But if this aid had been wanting to either angel or man, when they were first made, they would indeed have fallen without their own fault, since nature was not made such that it could remain if it would without divine aid, because the aid would have been wanting without which they could not persevere." Ib. In c. 12, Augustine distinguishes between an "aid by which a thing takes place," and an "aid without which it does not take place." The first he considers as afforded to the elect since the fall; the last, to Adam before the fall. By the first, the will itself is produced; by the last, the performance of good was rendered possible, if man willed it. This aid, which was afforded to the uncorrupted nature of man, Augustine compares to a light, by the help of which, sound eyes can see if they will. De Nat. et Gr. 48.
According to Augustine's theory, therefore, Adam did not need, before the fall, the grace which is here necessary to the elect, in order to conquer sensual passions; for these were not found in him. As Augustine likewise expresses himself (De Cor. et Gr.), Adam needed not the death of Christ; but he needed the grace of God, in order to persevere in good, and steadfastly to will it. Without this grace, as appears from the passages quoted, Adam could not be good by his own freewill; but he could abandon this grace by his freewill. For freewill is quite competent to evil, but is not adequate to good, if not aided by God. Now as man needed aid, even in paradise, Augustine could say of him, that he abandoned the grace of God by the first transgression. C. Jul. VI. 22. And to this he resorted, when he said (De Pec. Mer. I. 7), that the life of the soul expired in Adam by his disloyalty, which is again reanimated by the grace of Christ; for which he appealed to Rom. 8:10 seq.
4. In Adam, before the fall, the rational soul had a perfect dominion over sensuality, so that there was no conflict between this and reason. The body was subject to the spirit, and the sexual impulse never moved in opposition to the will of the spirit. Nor did the body encumber the soul. "Before transgression, the first pair were pleasing to God, and God was pleasing to them; and although they possessed an animal body, they felt nothing in it moving in disobedience to themselves. For such was the righteous arrangement, that, since their soul had received the body as a servant from the Lord, just as the soul was to obey the Lord, so the body was to obey the soul and exhibit a becoming subserviency to that life, without any resistance. Hence they were naked and were not ashamed. For now, the rational soul is naturally ashamed, because in the flesh, the right to whose servitude it received, it can no longer, (I know not through what infirmity,) either repress or excite, at its pleasure, the movement of the members. This disobedience of the flesh, therefore, quae in ipso motu est, etiam si habere non permittatur effectum, was not in the first pair, since they were naked and were not ashamed. For as yet, the rational soul, the lord of the flesh, was not disobedient to its Lord, so as to receive, as a reciprocal punishment, the disobedience of its servant, the flesh, with a certain sense of confusion and annoyance." De Pec. Mer. 11. 22. "I likewise add to the goodness of Adam's condition," says Augustine to Julian, "that in him, the flesh did not lust against the spirit, before sin; but you add this misery to his condition, by the discord of flesh and spirit, as you say that such concupiscence of the flesh as there now is, would have existed in paradise, even if no one had sinned; and that such did exist in him before he sinned." Op. Imp. VI. 16. "His nature was such, that he had no contest of the flesh and spirit in him. Such was that nature, that he contended against no vices; not that he yielded to them, but there were none in him." 22. "He endured no contest of the flesh against himself, nor perceived anything at all of a desire which he willed not." 14. "The enjoyments of sense were such, that the highest harmony existed between the flesh and the spirit, and nothing unlawful was desired." I. 71. "Adam was tried and assailed by no conflict of himself against himself; but enjoyed, in that place, the felicity of peace with himself." De Cor. et Gr. 11. According to Augustine, the connection of the sexes would indeed have taken place in paradise; but in such a way, that either no sensual passion would have been excited, or it would at least have been subject to the dominion of reason, and would not have risen in opposition to its dictate. C. Jul. III. 7; VI. 9, 14; Op. Imp. IV. 9; VI. 8. "Although that command, increase and multiply and fill the earth, can seem to have been practicable only, per concubitum maris et feminae, still it may likewise be said, that another way might have existed, with immortal bodies, so that, by the mere affection of a pious love, with no concupiscence of corruption, children might have been born, and who would not have to succeed their deceased parents nor themselves to die, till the earth should be filled with immortal men; and thus there might have been a way of being born, among such a righteous and holy people as we believe will exist after the resurrection." De Gen. ad Lit. III. 21. Comp. IX. 3; De Nupt. et Conc. It. 7. Before the fall, men could have propagated themselves just as well as the husbandman scatters seed from his hand on the earth. II. 14. For this purpose, also, there might have been a connection without shame. II. 22. "Nor would there have been any words which would be called obscene; but whatever might thence be said, would have been considered just as decent as when we speak of other parts of the body." De Civ. Dei, XIV. 23. "In paradise, before sin, the mortal body did not encumber the soul." Op. Imp. IV. 45.
5. Man would have attained the perfection of the will, the non posse peccare, if he had persevered in good; and it would thence have been as impossible for him to sin as for the good angels. "It was man's own fault, that he would not persevere, as it would have been his merit, if he had persevered; just as the holy angels did, who, while some fell by freewill, by just the same will stood and merited the attainment of the due reward of this perseverance, viz., such a perfect felicity, that it was certain they would always remain in it. What is freer than the freewill which cannot serve sin? This would have been the reward of obedience for man, as it was for the holy angels. But now, since the good merit is lost by sin, that which would have been the reward of merit, has become a free gift of grace, to those who become free." De Cor. et Gr. II; Op. Imp. VI. 12. The nature of man as God made it, was therefore good; but the nature of the holy angels, is still better, in which there is no possibility of their willing to sin. De Gen. ad Lit. XI. 7.
6. Before the fall, the body of man was no more liable to death than to disease.
If Adam had not sinned, he would not have died. This is an opinion which Augustine repeats times without number. It is also taught in the first canon of the synod held at Carthage in 418. Augustine, however, distinguished, with much circumspection, between a greater and a less immortality (immortalitas major et minor); or, as he also expresses himself (De Cor. et Gr. 12), between not being able to die, and being able not to die. The first, the non posse mori, was the immortality by virtue of which the possibility of death was utterly removed; but the last, the posse non mori, was that which constituted the possibility of not dying, provided one did nothing by which he would die, although he could do it. Op. Imp. VI. 30. The minor immortality, Augustine attributed to the body of the first man before the fall. In his view, Adam was not immortal, in the sense that he could not die, but only that he would not have died, if he had not sinned. "This question is pending between you and me; Would Adam have died whether he had sinned or not? For who does not know, that, according to that definition by which any one is called immortal who cannot die, but mortal who can die, Adam could die, because he could sin; and that, therefore, death was a punishment of his guilt, not a necessity of his nature? But according to that definition by which one is called immortal, who has it in his power not to die, who will deny, that Adam was endowed with this power? For he who has the power never to sin, has also certainly the power never to die." Op. Imp. VI. 25; De Pec. Mer. I. 5. "Adam's nature was so formed, that he could not die if he had not willed to sin." Op. Imp. VI. 22. "Before he sinned, Adam had neither the flesh of sin, nor the likeness of the flesh of sin; for he would not have died if he had not sinned." IV. 79. Augustine therefore called the body of the first pair, "a body in a manner immortal," They used the means of sustenance, temperately indeed, which were needful to the support of even the immortal but animal body; and the tree of life, so that they should not die of old age, nor death steal upon them in some other way. The tree of life had therefore an occult quality, and was a means of protection against disease and death. C. Jul IV. 14; De Pec. Mer. 11. 21; De Civ. Dei, XIII. 20. Comp. De Gen. ad Lit. III. 21; XI. 32. Of this they were allowed to eat before the fall, and it was first forbidden to them after the fall. Op. Imp. VI. 30. And Adam was not afraid of death, for it was in his power not to sin, and therefore to not die. VI. 14, 16.
The immortality major, or impossibility of dying, which is found in angels, and will be in us after the resurrection, and which is connected with the impossibility of sinning (VI. 30), would have been conferred, together with the latter, as a reward on Adam, if he had persevered. "Though Adam, in respect to his body, was earth, and had an animal body with which he was furnished, yet he would have been changed into a spiritual body, if he had not sinned, and would have passed into that incorruptibility without the danger of death, which is promised to believers and the holy." De Pec. Mer. 1. 2; Op. Imp. VI. 12, 39. This spiritual body would then have needed no nourishment. De Gen. ad Lit. III. 3.
Before the fall, therefore, Adam's body differed from ours, as ours must necessarily die, but his had only the possibility of dying, "With us, even if we live righteously, the body will die. On account of this necessity, arising from the sin of that first man, the apostle calls our body, not mortal, but dead, because in Adam we all die." De Gen. ad Lit. VI. 26. The first man, in his original state, did not have to fear that age would oppress him, and bring on death. "It was not to be feared that the man, if he should live longer in this animal body, would be oppressed by age, and by gradually growing old would come to die. For if God caused the clothes and shoes of the Israelites, not to be worn out, for so many years, what wonder is it, if obedience should be rewarded by the same power in man, so that his animal and mortal part should be in such a state, that he would advance in age without decay, and when God should please, pass from mortality to immortality, without the intervention of death?" De Pec. Mer. I. 3.
But Adam and Eve were free from every disease, before the fall. This is asserted by Augustine in many passages. "When moisture and dryness, heat and cold, are in conflict in our body, health is impaired. And all this, like death itself, comes from the propagation of that sin. Nor will any one say, that if no one had sinned, we should have suffered these things in that felicity of paradise." C. Jul. V. 7. Comp. VI. 10, 27.
7. On the whole, according to Augustine, paradise, in which Adam and Eve were found before the fall, was a residence of the purest felicity, and free from all suffering and trouble. Even their very dreams were happy, in paradise. The beasts were obedient to man. No defect was there. Trees, fruits, all things were displayed in their greatest excellence. Here, women would have produced children, without pain; and even the beasts, in this happy abode, would not have died, but would have left it at the approach of great age.
Hence Augustine so often speaks of the blessedness and the delights of Eden. "O, how greatly do you err [Julian] who suppose that blessedness and those holy delights of paradise to be derived from this corruptibility and infirmity of nature, which now exists!" Op. Imp. 1. 71. "Without pain or labor, Adam would have lived forever in that paradise of joy." VI. 23. "Pain and fear were not in that place of felicity." VI. 17. "Far be it from us to believe, that there was anything there, either internal or external, by which either grief would wound, or labor fatigue, or shame confound, or cold benumb, or horror assail our sensibilities." C. Jul. V. 5. "If anything was learned in paradise, the knowledge of which was useful to that life, that happy nature learned it without labor or pain, either God or nature herself being the teacher." Op. Imp. VI. 9. "If in paradise there was the vicissitude of waking and sleeping, where there was not the evil of lusting, the dreams of the sleeping were as happy as the life of the waking." C. Jul. V. 10. "You [Julian] believe, then, that all those evils would have existed, even in paradise, if no one had sinned; and you think there would have been the death of men as well as of beasts, because you believe the mortality of the body common to all. O miserable men; if you would think of the blessedness of that place with Christian sense, you would not believe that beasts would there have died, just as they would not have been fierce, but subject to man with wonderful gentleness, nor have fed on each other, but would have lived on common aliment with man, as saith the scripture. Or if extreme old age would finally work their dissolution, so that human nature alone should possess eternal life, why may we not believe, that they would be removed from paradise, when about to die, or would go forth by a sense of impending death, so that death might happen to no living thing in the place of that life? For neither could those who had sinned, have died, if they had not gone forth, by the merit of their sin, from the habitation of such great felicity." Op. Imp. III. 147. "In a place of so great happiness and glory, it is not to be believed, that there could have been, or can be, any defect of tree, or herb, or apple, or anything, whether of fruit or flock." VI. 16. "In that felicity, there would be no pain of parturition." De Nupt. et Conc. II. 14, 15.
In this and similar ways, was the condition of the first man before the fall, portrayed by Augustine. Hence he called him "blessed," but not "fully blessed," because he had indeed the ability to not sin and not die, but not the inability to sin and to die. To this "plenitude of blessedness," i.e., to holiness and the greater immortality, and the consciousness of them, Adam would have attained, if he had not sinned. But he was blessed before the fall; for he did not foresee his future lot; and possessed the consciousness of its being in his power to not die and become unhappy. De Cor. et Gr. 10; Op. Imp. VI. 14.
Now to these different views, which were taken by the Pelagians and by Augustine, of the state of man before the fall, it may well be supposed there was no lack of objections and inferences, on either side. Augustine remarked against Julian, that, according to his theory, even in the happy abode of paradise, there must have been mingled corporeal and spiritual infirmities of every sort (C. Jul. VI. 16); and that a multitude of natural defects must have been met with in paradise (Op. Imp. IV. 123); and he regarded it as incompatible with the idea of a paradise, in which the most perfect enjoyment prevails, that a discord of the flesh and spirit, which is shown by concupiscence, could have existed there. 19. Even the subjugation of it, would have disturbed the perfect enjoyment, etc. (C. d. Epp. Pel. I. 17); and man would have been unhappy in paradise, even before sin. Op. Imp. VI. 14. Julian found it, and certainly not without reason, very unphilosophical, that Augustine should discover another ground for sinning, in the first man, from that which lies in freewill itself, viz., in his being made out of nothing. "You very foolishly ask," said he to Augustine, "Whence is the bad will? Man has sinned because he would; he has had a bad will because he has willed to have it." V. 54, 60. Augustine, in opposition to Julian, who defended the opinion, that concupiscence existed in paradise, assumed the weak position, that even then, the freewill of man was not able to prove itself efficient. "For if even then the flesh lusted against the spirit, they did not that which they would." VI. 8.
Now, as Augustine exhibited the state of man before the fall in such severe contrast with his state after the fall, and Adam's nature, according to Augustine's own exhibition, stood so high and was so distinguished, his transgression, by which so great a depravation was produced, and which deserved so great a punishment, must have been very great. For, "from his own offence, Adam begat the guilty." De Pec. Mer. I. 14. Augustine could not find words to set forth the greatness of Adam's transgression. "In vain do you strive," says he to Julian, "to make the sins of his children, be they ever so great and shocking, to appear equal to the sin of Adam, or even greater. The higher his nature stood, the deeper it fell. The first Adam was of so distinguished a nature, because not corrupted, that his sin was as much greater than the sins of others, as he was more illustrious than others." Op. Imp. VI. 22. He called Adam's transgression an "ineffable apostasy" (III. 56); and a "sin much greater than we can judge of." De Nupt. et Conc. II. 34; Op. Imp. VI. 23. Augustine endeavors to explain the greatness of Adam's transgression, from the circumstance, that he might so easily have kept the divine command, to the transgression of which God had affixed so great a penalty, and he had no sensual passion to subdue. III. 57; II. 188; De Nat. et Gr. 25; De Cor. et Gr. 12; De Civ. Dei, XIV. 12.
On the contrary, the Pelagians, in conformity with their view of the present and the first state of human nature, did not find, in Adam's first transgression, the immense guilt which Augustine must have found in it in order that so severe a punishment should be grounded on it. "Who has told you," says Julian to Augustine, "how great was the sin which Adam committed?" Here Augustine appealed to passages of scripture (Gen. 3:19), Thou art earth, and to earth shalt thou return; and (Rom. 8:10), The body is dead because of sin; and inferred from the greatness of the punishment with which God followed Adam's transgression, as well as from the righteousness of him that appointed it, how great must have been the guilt which deserved such a punishment. Op. Imp. VI. 23, 27, 33.
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