Dec 13, 2012

Early Church Anthropology

Pelagius’ doctrine of man
That man in his current condition enjoys great freedom of choice. He did not think that Adam’s sin affected our natures other than setting a bad example. He also taught that man can – in this life – achieve a certain state of perfection (sinlessness) by means of great moral striving. It seems some of his followers, such as Celestius and Julian of Eclanum, took his ideas farther. Pelagianism as a whole was condemned several times over at various church councils in 412 (Carthage), 416 (Carthage and Milevum),418 (Carthage), and 431 (Ephesus).
Augustine’s doctrine of man
Augustine taught that Adam enjoyed a morally, physically, and spiritually pristine existence in the Garden.Augustine viewed Adam’s fall as a result of his own free will; he chose wrong,pridefully desiring to be his own ruler instead of God. Augustine thought the doctrine of original sin was thoroughly biblical and believed the whole human race was damned due to Adam’s grievous crime. Augustine saw human nature as now corrupted but he also knew we still possess the image of God. Yet because of the fall we now have lost the ability to not sin and can only do any good by God’s grace.
Augustine even quotes Chrysostom as saying we have an‘ancestral obligation’ via Adam and this equates to ‘the first portion of a debt which we have increased by our subsequent sins’ (c. Iul. I, 26).
Augustine rejected the Origenist view as well due to its low view of the body, seeing it as a prison of sorts.

views concerning the origin of man’s soul
The dominant view, taught by men such as Cyril of Alexandria, Epiphanius, Hilary, Ambrose, Jerome, and even Pelagius, was called creationism.This is the view that each soul is created by God afresh at the making of a new body.

was associated with Tertullian, taught (with qualifications) by Augustine, and hinted at by Gregory of Nyssa. This is the view that each soul is generated from the parent’s soul. This is thought to happen simultaneously with the generation of a new body

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