Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine
Chapter 45.--Answer to This Argument: The Apostle Says We All Sinned in One.
Now, there is an answer for him to all these questions given by the apostle, who censures neither the infant's will, which is not yet matured in him for sinning, nor marriage, which, as such, has not only its institution, but its blessing also, from God; nor parents, so far as they are parents, who are united together properly and lawfully for the procreation of children; but he says, |By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for in him all have sinned.| Now, if these persons would only receive this statement with catholic hearts and ears, they would not have rebellious feelings against the grace and faith of Christ, nor would they vainly endeavour to convert to their own particular and heretical sense these very clear and manifest words of the apostle, when they assert that the purport of the passage is to this effect: that Adam was the first to sin, and that any one who wished afterwards to commit sin found an example for sinning in him; so that sin, you must know, did not pass from this one upon all men by birth, but by the imitation of this one. Whereas it is certain that if the apostle meant this imitation to be here understood, he would have said that sin had entered into the world and passed upon all men, not by one man, but rather by the devil. For of the devil it is written: |They that are on his side do imitate him.| He used the phrase |by one man,| from whom the generation of men, of course, had its beginning, in order to show us that original sin had passed upon all men by generation.