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Joined: 2011/10/23
Posts: 1863


is this the same as what the oridginal post sugests agustine taught
Augustine of Hippo (354-430) taught that Adam's sin[15] is transmitted by concupiscence, resulting in mankind becoming a massa damnata (mass of perdition, condemned crowd), with much enfeebled, though not destroyed, freedom of will.[1] When Adam sinned, human nature was thenceforth transformed. Adam and Eve, via sexual reproduction, recreated human nature. Their descendants now live in sin, in the form of concupiscence, a term Augustine used in a metaphysical, not a psychological sense.[16] Augustine insisted that concupiscence was not a being but a bad quality, the privation of good or a wound.[17] He admitted that sexual concupiscence (libido) might have been present in the perfect human nature in paradise, and that only later it became disobedient to human will as a result of the first couple's disobedience to God's will in the original sin.[18] In Augustine's view (termed "Realism"), all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.[19]

Augustine articulated his explanation in reaction to Pelagianism, which insisted that humans have of themselves, without the necessary help of God's grace, the ability to lead a morally good life, and thus denied both the importance of baptism and the teaching that God is the giver of all that is good. Pelagius claimed that the influence of Adam on other humans was merely that of bad example. Augustine held that the effects of Adam's sin are transmitted to his descendants not by example but by the very fact of generation from that ancestor. A wounded nature comes to the soul and body of the new person from his/her parents, who experience libido (or concupiscence). Augustine's view was that human procreation was the way the transmission was being effected.

 2012/8/31 21:59Profile

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936

 entire chapter 12

Thank you to everyone who has posted, there is so much for me to process. I will post the intire chapter 12 from which I took this excerpt from, What I am trying to figure out is did Augustines view of Human nature or nature of sin change from his early years of debating the Manichæans to his later years of debating the pelagians as what many claim, I am finding his writings written in a way that is very difficult for me to comprehend,

Chapter 12.—From the Definitions Given of Sin and Will, He Overthrows the Entire Heresy of the Manichæans. Likewise from the Just Condemnation of Evil Souls It Follows that They are Evil Not by Nature But by Will. That Souls are Good By Nature, to Which the Pardon of Sins is Granted.

16. Come now, let us see in what respect these things would have aided us. Much every way, so that I should have desired nothing more; for they end the whole cause; for whoever consulting in the inner mind, where they are more pronounced and assured, the secrets of his own conscience, and the divine laws absolutely imposed upon nature, grants that these two definitions of will and sin are true, condemns without any hesitation by the fewest and the briefest, but plainly the most invincible reasons, the whole heresy of the Manichæans. Which can be thus considered. They say that there are two kinds of souls, the one good, which is in such a way from God, that it is said not to have been made by Him out of any material or out of nothing, but to have proceeded as a certain part from the very substance itself of God; the other evil, which they believe and strive to get others to believe pertains to God in no way whatever; and so they maintain that the one is the perfection of good, but the other the perfection of evil, and that these two classes were at one time distinct but are now commingled. The character and the cause of this commingling I had not yet heard; but nevertheless I could have inquired whether that evil kind of souls, before it was mingled with the good, had any will. For if not, it was without sin and innocent, and so by no means evil.213 But if evil in such a way, that though without will, as fire, yet if it should touch the good it would violate and corrupt it; how impious it is to believe that the nature of evil is powerful enough to change any part of God, and that the Highest Good is corruptible and violable! But if the will was present, assuredly there was present, no one compelling, a movement of the mind either towards not losing something or obtaining something. But this something was either good, or was thought to be good, for not otherwise could it be earnestly desired. But in supreme evil, before the commingling which they maintain, there never was any good. Whence then could there be in it either the knowledge or the thought of good? Did they wish for nothing that was in themselves, and earnestly desire that true good which was without? That will must truly be declared worthy of distinguished and great praise by which is earnestly desired the supreme and true good. Whence then in supreme evil was this movement of mind most worthy of so great praise? Did they seek it for the sake of injuring it? In the first place, the argument comes to the same thing. For he who wishes to injure, wishes to deprive another of some good for the sake of some good of his own. There was therefore in them either a knowledge of good or an opinion of good, which ought by no means to belong to supreme evil. In the second place, whence had they known, that good placed outside of themselves, which they designed to injure, existed at all. If they had intellectually perceived it, what is more excellent than such a mind? Is there anything else for which the whole energy of good men is put forth except the knowledge of that supreme and sincere good? What therefore is now scarcely conceded to a few good and just men, was mere evil, no good assisting, then able to accomplish? But if those souls bore bodies and saw the supreme good with their eyes, what tongues, what hearts, what intellects suffice for lauding and proclaiming those eyes, with which the minds of just men can scarcely be compared? How great good things we find in supreme evil! For if to see God is evil, God is not a good; but God is a good; therefore to see God is good; and I know not what can be compared to this good. Since to see anything is good, whence can it be made out that to be able to see is evil? Therefore whatever in those eyes or in those minds brought it about, that the divine essence could be seen by them, brought about a great thing and a good thing most worthy of ineffable praise. But if it was not brought about, but it was such in itself and eternal, it is difficult to find anything better than this evil.

17. Lastly, that these souls may have nothing of these praiseworthy things which by the reasonings of the Manichæans they are compelled to have, I should have asked, whether God condemns any or no souls. If none, there is no judgment of rewards and punishments, no providence, and the world is administered by chance rather than by reason, or rather is not administered at all. For the name administration must not be given to chances. But if it is impious for all those that are bound by any religion to believe 105this, it remains either that there is condemnation of some souls, or that there are no sins. But if there are no sins, neither is there any evil. Which if the Manichæans should say, they would slay their heresy with a single blow. Therefore they and I agree that some souls are condemned by divine law and judgment. But if these souls are good, what is that justice? If evil, are they so by nature, or by will? But by nature souls can in no way be evil. Whence do we teach this. From the above definitions of will and sin. For to speak of souls, and that they are evil, and that they do not sin, is full of madness; but to say that they sin without will, is great craziness, and to hold any one guilty of sin for not doing what he could not do, belongs to the height of iniquity and insanity. Wherefore whatever these souls do, if they do it by nature not by will, that is, if they are wanting in a movement of mind free both for doing and not doing, if finally no power of abstaining from their work is conceded to them; we cannot hold that the sin is theirs.214 But all confess both that evil souls are justly, and souls that have not sinned are unjustly condemned; therefore they confess that those souls are evil that sin. But these, as reason teaches, do not sin. Therefore the extraneous class of evil souls of the Manichæans, whatever it may be, is a non-entity.

18. Let us now look at that good class of souls, which again they exalt to such a degree as to say that it is the very substance of God. But how much better it is that each one should recognize his own rank and merit, nor be so puffed up with sacrilegious pride as to believe that as often as he experiences a change in himself it is the substance of that supreme good, which devout reason holds and teaches to be unchangeable! For behold! since it is manifest that souls do not sin in not being such as they cannot be; it follows that these supposititious souls, whatever they may be, do not sin at all, and moreover that they are absolutely non-existent; it remains that since there are sins, they find none to whom to attribute them except the good class of souls and the substance of God. But especially are they pressed by Christian authority; for never have they denied that forgiveness of sins is granted when any one has been converted to God; never have they said (as they have said of many other passages) that some corrupter has interpolated this into the divine Scriptures. To whom then are sins attributed? If to those evil souls of the alien class, these also can become good, can possess the kingdom of God with Christ. Which denying, they [the Manichæans] have no other class except those souls which they maintain are of the substance of God. It remains that they acknowledge that not only these latter also, but these alone sin. But I make no contention about their being alone in sinning; yet they sin. But are they compelled to sin by being commingled with evil? If so compelled that there was no power of resisting, they do not sin. If it is in their power to resist, and they voluntarily consent, we are compelled to find out through their [the Manichæan] teaching, why so great good things in supreme evil, why this evil in supreme good, unless it be that neither is that which they bring into suspicion evil, nor is that which they pervert by superstition supreme good?

 2012/9/1 0:59Profile

 Re: to hold any one guilty of sin for not doing what he could not do, belongs to the

Adam and Eve, via sexual reproduction, recreated human nature. Their descendants now live in sin, in the form of concupiscence, a term Augustine used in a metaphysical, not a psychological sense.[16] Augustine insisted that concupiscence was not a being but a bad quality, the privation of good or a wound.[17] He admitted that sexual concupiscence (libido) might have been present in the perfect human nature in paradise, and that only later it became disobedient to human will as a result of the first couple's disobedience to God's will in the original sin. Quoted by Brother Gary.

I hope that proudpapa is not offended by my posting directly into his post with my own answers. But he asks such provoking questions at times and they often seem to have at their root something of a controversy in that they innocently challenge profound ideas which every believer ought to understand; who are easily carried away with philosophy. This is quiet a skill of proudpapa and a good thing in my thinking. So to answer you Brother Gary:

Metaphysical thinking has its roots in Greek philosophical thinking. When employed by one who knows Christ, yet is vain and confident in their own reasoning mind, it becomes a way to expiate physical reality by either alluding to something physical, but yet ends up denying a physical truth; or else it is to state a physical reality but with the intention of producing a lie. This is because reason without the Cross equals vanity and the working of Satan. Apart from any academic understanding of the term, as those who love The Lord Jesus, we should seek to understand or else discern what is intended by the words used by such men as Augustine. Trying to understand the Greek philosophers would be an imaginative exercise but in the end we would only be drawn into reason and would as they were become deniers of the Truth. Whilst they acted ignorantly in as much as they did not have the true knowledge of God and Christ, Augustine is without excuse. So although Greek philosophical thought came into western culture and thinking in its pure or direct form via the Crusades against Islam in the east in the 11th and 12th centuries, it is important to remember that through Augustine this philosophy of reason came into the Church (Catholic) in the 4th century. Although we tend to think of Augustine in terms of the middle ages and the monastic life, his influence is endemic throughout the post apostolic church. He was a vain and conceited man who although he is praised to the roof, he is in fact responsible for firming up a natural philosophical perspective of the church, as a catholic church. His powers of reason laid a basis for the Reformation fathers, yet he has also contributed considerable heresy into the church because of his attendance to natural philosophy. In short he held to a state of reason which had its roots in the same philosophical works which also gave rise to occidental occultism.

Our confidence must be in the Scriptures and in Revelation of God. We must put our reliance on our relationship with Christ and determine not to remove beyond what the Scriptures tells us is our measure. Putting confidence in philosophy and reason is simply vain. Words can and do mean many things. We can state something which on literal understanding may very well be truthful but which when accepted into the heart through the reasoning mind becomes a lie when it is mingled with the deceitful and vain heart. This business of the sinful nature is profoundly in that category.

What Augustine calls concupiscence is a construction borne out of a natural philosophical understanding informed by early as well as Late Greek philosophical thinking and is an attempt to deny the very fabric of reliance on the reality of Christ’s body crucified for sin. The word emphasises the sexual component of union between a man and a woman making libido or sexual awareness as a root of an individuals awareness of the sinful nature. If you want to understand how it is that something which is in fact holy, being an act of separateness of one man and one woman to each other, can become viewed as unclean and filthy, you have to look no further than Augustine. This metaphysical or natural philosophical understanding has been so successful an invasion of the western church that many believers even find it difficult to accept the simplicity of what constitutes the sinful nature, its power and source. The sinful nature has its source and power in the body. It is the body of sin. Unless we reckon with this body of sin, according to God’s estimation we will not overcome sin, the flesh or the Devil working in our lives.

It is true that Augustine promoted a less philosophical or metaphysical view of the sin nature in his later life. This shift can be understood in the way in which the medieval western church embraced self mortification by applying the rod to the physical body itself as a remedy for dealing with its lusts and influence on the soul. Yet even in this regard it amounts to a man’s efforts and takes no reliance on God’s remedy which is the Cross of Christ laid hold of in experience by faith. It must be a looking to the Cross by faith as well as a reckoning with the body of flesh. It must be a looking to the Cross by faith as well as taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Himself. It must be a putting no confidence in the flesh, and taking every confidence in the Lord’s obedience unto death. It is a being born of water of our mother womb and being born again of the Spirit of God. It is a new creature and an old man. It is being buried with Christ into death and a walking in resurrection of life. It is by faith, yet it is a not puffing at the air with words, but a bringing of the body into subjection, lest we be found to have run in vain. In the end it is the physical body, yet it is not a physical inheritance but a spiritual inheritance and a new body at the Lord’s return.

Proudpapa I will try to answer your question regarding Augustine’s contending with the Manichaean heresy as well as the Pelagius heresy when I have gone through chapter 12 as posted. I need breakfast first it’s been a long night.

 2012/9/1 2:37

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936

 Re: amrkelly

Hi amrkelly

RE: amrkelly wrote ///I hope that proudpapa is not offended by my posting directly into his post with my own answers.///

No, I am not at all offended by posting directly into my post, nor have I felt offended at anything that I have read of yours in this thread or any other thread, even though I do not always agree with everything you or anyone else at times post, I have a high amount of respect for how Graceful and well thought out most of your post are. Even on things that I do not agree with you on, I find that I am humbled by your knowledge and learn much and it helps me relize that I do not have all the answers and still have much to learn. thankyou for your insightful post amrkelly.

RE amrkelly wrote ///Proudpapa I will try to answer your question regarding Augustine’s contending with the Manichaean heresy as well as the Pelagius heresy when I have gone through chapter 12 as posted. I need breakfast first it’s been a long night.///

Whenever you get a chance I would love to read your thoughts on it. Thankyou!

 2012/9/1 23:58Profile

 Re: to hold any one guilty of sin for not doing what he could not do, belongs to the

Come now, let us see in what respect these things would have aided us. Much every way, so that I should have desired nothing more; for they end the whole cause; for whoever consulting in the inner mind, where they are more pronounced and assured, the secrets of his own conscience, and the divine laws absolutely imposed upon nature, grants that these two definitions of will and sin are true, condemns without any hesitation by the fewest and the briefest, but plainly the most invincible reasons, the whole heresy of the Manicheans. Augustine.

The “these things” are the two definitions of will and sin which Augustine established and which form the underlying argument by which Augustine asserts that he defeats the Manichaean heresy. The pivot of the assertion is that it is in the inner mind or conscience where the proof lies because the proof is itself attendant to the physiology or physical nature of a man by imposition of God. This is what is called elemental philosophy and represents early Greek philosophical thinking. A quote reflecting modern day thought demonstrates how much this way of thinking still shapes modern life. "After industrialization, knowledge became fragmented and people lost touch with the material realities of the places in which they lived. David Macauley blends ancient Greek precepts with twenty-first century circumstances: earth, air, fire, and water call upon us from across the millennia to reanimate humanity's connection to our home planet." --David Spanagel, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. If this sounds “New Age” in its direction then that is because it is the tip of an intellectual iceberg of thinking which has collectively been called the Age of Aquarius. It is however nothing more than elemental philosophy.

The simple point is that Augustine was influenced directly by elemental philosophy to such an extent that he couldn’t remove himself from the knowledge that the very body itself is physically attendant to God’s elemental governance. To the extent that were one to press into that hidden understanding one would recognise this elemental reality and this would irrevocably settle the Manichean heresy that there are two kinds of souls one good and one evil. Apart from acknowledging that every element of the universe is in God’s hand, we would have to assert that the rest is vanity. This is because the very elements themselves are disturbed and changed by rebellion of both Angels and by disobedience of men. The fall and subsequent judgment of the evil one laid waste to the heavens and the earth. In Genesis 1:2 the earth is in a state of chaos and is uninhabitable. Yet in Genesis 1:1 we are told that God made the heavens and the earth. Adam’s very body became fallen. It became subject to the law of sin and death. The orderly and therefore everlasting body which Adam was given became itself subject to chaos and inevitable death. This condition is so grave that God Himself puts Adam out of the garden and away from the Tree of Life to prevent Adam from being able to live for ever in a ruined state. This is God’s mercy.

Any looking into ones self to understand or else to estimate ones self is bound to produce a wrong outcome. What you will observe is chaos and ruination. In assessing the inner man in the mind of reason bounded by physical perceptions and in the knowledge of elemental philosophy, Augustine made a profound wrong assumption; namely that the elemental universe is orderly and harmonised; therefore so must a man be orderly and harmonised even in a fallen state. What are missing are the knowledge of Scripture and the leading of The Holy Spirit to understand that God Himself has, since the fall of that former Covering Cherub, even the wicked one, subjected the whole universe to futility. God’s own estimation and the limits of His determination is that all men are able to observe outwardly His existence by the things He has created. In this all man are without excuse. Creation visibly bears witness to God Himself. If we press inwards becoming like god’s as Satan promised Eve, we will encounter futility and God’s own snare to prevent men from ascending to the heavens without dependence on Christ. Only in Christ can we truly understand our part in the heavens which is our being presently seated in Christ at the right hand of The Father, and hereafter New Jerusalem and a new heavens and a new earth.

Empedocles was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four Classical elements terra, era, ignis and aqua. This elemental view of life and the cosmos forms the early part of Greek philosophical development. The progression becomes increasingly rationalistic and increasingly sets men apart from God Himself, driven as it is by Satan who is concerned to make himself the god of this world. By the time of The Lord Jesus he has indeed become the God of this world and all men are in him, because the whole world has believed his lies and followed his direction. Augustine as with many others who have come down to us as foundational truth was in a true sense following in this same path of reason and self enquiry. Consider therefore what the outcome of this was even at the time of The Lord’s earthly ministry.. “He, who has supped with Me, has lifted up his hand against Me” (Paraphrase) “Behold the god of this world comes, yet he has nothing in Me”. If Judas had not attended to his reason and lusts, he would not have betrayed Christ. He would like the other apostles have cast down his means of sustenance and followed Christ as one trusting in God Himself.

The whole of western culture is rooted and founded in rationalistic and reasoning philosophy brought to England as well as central Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries by Crusaders returning from the Islamic territories conquered in the name of Christ. These soldiers as well as Roman Catholic priests brought with them the early and late Greek philosophies and thereby made full that which was started by men such as Augustine in the introduction of philosophy into church doctrine, marking the true beginning of the Mother of Harlots of Revelations. Today we live in a so-called post rationalistic society where men believe that by looking into the actual physical cosmos of atoms with electron microscopes we have somehow escaped the vulgar though admirable efforts of the ancients; we have indeed become god’s ourselves. Yet the evidence in all our lives tells us that we are more driven by selfish and carnal ambitions than at any other time in the history of the world. Today a small child can have as much comfort and possessions as a prince had in ancient times. Psychology, Sociology, Zoology and Anthropology are all grounded in rationalistic reasoning and have all drawn men away from God and into self determined lifestyles. They are all informed by philosophical reasoning based on a denial of God and a hope in man.

The teachings the Manicheans proclaimed were attacked by Augustine when he had become a member of the Catholic Church. He presented the views of Catholicism as opposed to the Manichean teaching, making a personality whom he calls ‘Faustus’ the advocate of Manicheanism. It is the dualistic conception of good and evil that distinguishes it from Western Christianity. Manicheanism is supposed to have taught that evil is eternal, like the good, that there is no resurrection and that evil has no end, that it has the same origin as the good and is without beginning and hence without end. The man accredited with the origin of this dualistic heresy is Mani who is a Babylonian prophet from Persia who left his writings to his widow who then allowed them to be developed by others and which in the end were held to by so many people that they were for a while, in north Africa, almost a certain challenge to the true faith. It is in North Africa that Augustine developed a catholic (world view) of the true faith which gave a deep philosophical and intellectual satisfaction to the newly accepted Christian faith some 70 years earlier by Constantine. The preceding 270 years approximately is characterised by 1st century bestial persecution of the churches by the Caesars directly and personally, thereafter in the 2nd and early part of the 3rd century it is the State more directly driven by laws and by now an almost societal obligation to hate Christians and to persecute them by pressing them to the extremes of society and life itself. Until the 30 years or so in the life of Constantine whose mother Helena was a believer, this pattern continues, only now the change to a state sponsored belief system begins. Also this provides the circumstance both politically and societal which made it possible for Augustine to apply his intellect to the problem of finding the philosophical bridge which would connect the true faith and the state as an harmonious entity.

He did this by conceiving of a great city (at that time mystical) which would demonstrate how truth and political thinking could exist side by side without conflict. It was a type of New Jerusalem of Revelations. In reality it was the laying of the foundations of that city, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots, yet at this time presented as a mystery. It is worth realising that again attending to Greek philosophy the term politic means to live in a city. Also that Apart from earthly Jerusalem only New Jerusalem in the new heavens and the new earth do we find God Himself living in a city with his people. The Greeks coined the term politic to collectivise the understanding which arises from living in a city, peacefully and rationally; namely subject to law and reasoned debate. At this time of Augustine the invisible union of true religion and rebellious independent men finds its expression in the most significant expression of a mystery which was already at work from the time of Nimrod the first king named in Scriptures as the first king of the land called Babel.; namely mystery Babylon. Though Nimrod was minded to build a city, he also had his mind set on heaven, hence the tower of Babel, mans first attempt to enter heaven without Christ.

The tower which Nimrod built or caused to be built is so called not because it was on the geographical boundary of a land called Babel, but because God Himself divided men by tongues thereby setting the distinction between those who would become Israel and those who would become the nations. The city of Babylon built by Nebuchadnezzar was a city of great administration as well as a city of physical beauty and religious sophistication. The hanging gardens were a wonder of that ancient world. But the administrational ability through writing down the laws of the kings and the rulers was also a significant feature as well. In the end Darius the King of Babylon was himself snared by this system and found him kneeling at the opening to the lions den, declaring to Daniel, whom he cared for, “may your God preserve you Daniel”. The effect of this mystery of Babylonian determination to enter heaven itself by the works of their own hands began with Cain, who showed his true heart by choosing to bring to God a sacrifice of his labours which was cursed, even the fruit of the earth, which was cursed. God can no more receive a thing cursed as a sacrifice by the hands of men unless it is Christ Himself cursed by being hung on a tree, than fallen men can naturally receive Christ. The twist which lies at the root of this reality is that men perceive in their own hearts the need to draw to God’s attention the curse, but do not incline to seeing that God Himself also has His remedy for that curse. So in the end through a lack of trust in God men are ever willing to seek to storm heaven itself in order to demand of God, that which God has always been willing to give, even a remedy for sin and death. Yet this remedy was revealed in Eden to Adam and Eve in the form of the promised seed. So that we can easily understand that from the beginning rebellion against God has hinged on not trusting God. When we speak of Cain’s heart or else the heart of Nimrod or Nebuchadnezzar we need to understand that the understanding of their condition is a matter which belongs to God Himself. We are not their judge. Yet their condition is revealed for our sakes as a warning.

All the efforts of men are of course overshadowed by that which is truly wicked, which is the mind and ambition of the wicked one, even Satan. As long as he is able to compass heaven itself according to God’s command, men will always be both drawn as well as driven to enter heaven unlawfully in order to commune with those principalities and powers of wickedness in heavenly places, amongst which Satan is the chief. Herein lies the true heart of wickedness in some men, who not only grumble against God, but they knowingly lend themselves to an agreement which though unspoken, amounts to being represented in heaven rebelliously, through the wicked one who is still labouring to draw the angels away from God to himself. It is of course pure madness and vanity because in an instant Michael and his angels will wage war against him and he will be cast down to the earth. At this time, those who have laboured to enter heaven unlawfully will themselves be faced with the reality of having only Hell to enter into. Yet in their madness they will still persist right to the end. The full visibility of all this is a man standing in the Holy Place declaring blasphemies, changing times and seasons, making himself to be god and leading the whole world in rebellion against God openly.

Why draw into these things in this way? Why not just simply answer a question concerning wickedness and vanity with an affirmation of goodness, of God and Christ? The reason is because of the times in which we live, when all of Satan’s efforts to deceive man, as well as to utilise man’s discontent with God, will come to a fulfilment. Without men Satan would be incapable of doing anything beyond him self and a number of angels which followed him in rebellion in former times. He as well as they were judged at that time in their bodies as well as their ambitions being brought to nothing. The wicked one though he still possesses a body was destroyed internally and outwardly in appearance by fire from within him. The principalities and powers today which labour with him are similarly judged, yet they are still able to conduct their original purpose of God, which was to govern and direct the very elements of the universe according to God’s command. When men are drawn away from trusting in God they too look to their own bodies and minds to find the answers to their own condition and discontent. Philosophy by what ever measure will always lead men astray. This is why it is written that God has chosen not the wise of this world but the foolish in order to put those who are wise to foolishness.

The need for discernment is never greater pressed upon us than it is today. Unless we learn to deny our selves, a thing which we cannot do of ourselves, we will risk being a part of the problem of rebellion against God even though we will be certain because we love God and Christ that we could not be so inclined. Yet the same malady of discontent is evident today amongst those who are called and chosen as it has been in every day. The cross is not only the place whereon Christ was crucified for sin, but it is insofar as we realise the union, the same place whereon all men, in Christ’s body were also crucified unto death. Only union in Christ’s death can lead to walking in His resurrection life.

Vanity, vanity all is vanity.

Apart from obvious historical references or else so-called academic enquires there is nothing which cannot be understood by discernment. This gift of God is an ability to know without enquiry the nature of a thing. Is it of God or is it a man or else an angel? That which truly sets a man apart for God cannot be achieved through reason or enquiry alone. Unless God Himself draws a man to Christ, it is impossible to know Christ. This is something which we find hard to accept or perhaps to understand. This is because our hearts do not think as God Himself thinks and our minds are not taught so as to prove that acceptable and perfect will of God. Yet this is what is before us in Christ and it is a most precious reality. To have your mind renewed so as to be able to think as God thinks is truly astonishing. It is written that when we speak, we should speak as though we speak the Word of God. If this were not possible God could not have asked us to have such a mind. Yet God both asks and provides the Way to such a mind. It is the mind of Christ which we already posses if we have truly believed. If we want to succeed in obedience we will also have to have a mind to suffer. Only God knows the heart, we do not even know our own hearts unless God shows it to us for our edification, either to grant repentance or else to encourage. All things are so ordered by God that it is impossible to lay hold of Him by reason alone neither can the nature and substance of deception be understood by reason alone.

As Paul spoke to the Galatians, “who has bewitched you? Before whose eyes Christ was publically portrayed crucified! Are you now to complete in the flesh that which was begun in the spirit?” (Paraphrase). Now we know that Christ was crucified outside Jerusalem and not in Galatia. The presentation was the apostolic preaching of Christ crucified for sin, which to the inner man is the same as having witnessed it at Jerusalem. Such is the gospel when it is presented as it was taught to the apostles by Christ Himself. In such a presentation we are able to trust God, for though we do not know our own hearts yet we are able to trust God to complete what He has started in us. In this we will be set free from vain philosophy and attend to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Trusting God can of itself produce suffering because at times we may have no confidence at all that God does indeed love us. This may come about as a result of walking in the flesh or it may be as a result of the enemy of our souls. In such a mind trusting God becomes obedience which itself keeps us from becoming discontent with God Himself and acting independently so as to satisfy the demand of the flesh, resulting in our resisting suffering itself.

Augustine no doubt was perceived as being successful in resisting the Manichean as well as the later heresy of Pelagius. Pelagius is said to have repented of his early writings. It is a remarkable thing that this heresy of Pelagius has found little ground in either worldly thinking or else in church doctrines. Manichean thinking on the other hand has both prevailed in church doctrine through Roman Catholicism as well as influencing the wisdom of this world. Look no further than bi-polar disorder which is also called manic depression. The term manic is from the name of the man Mani whose writings laid the foundation of this heresy. Sigmund Freud bases his theories on a similar polar theory claiming that there is a conscious as well as subconscious mind, both of which are equal participants in the life of an individual. If you think about the outworking of this claim of Freud it is easy to realise that whatever comes out of the subconscious part is the same excuse of an individuals conduct as Manichean thinking which speaks of polar realities in which God is not sovereign, but where good and evil are polar opposites in outworking. In seemingly defeating this heresy of Mani Augustine in fact embraced an element of it or else a consequential outworking of it, which is seen and understood through Freud’s writings. It is that a man is not responsible for his actions as it arises from his subconscious mind so that he is incapable of doing other than his nature intended. Freud also postulated that the driving energies of the id both informs and expresses itself through libido. He also postulates male and female variants of these characteristics.

Augustine said “to hold anyone guilty of sin for not doing what he could not do belongs to the height of iniquity.” Augustine also postulated that libido is the outward evidence of self awareness which informs a person of their sinful nature.

God’s estimation of the heart is that every thought of man is continuously wicked and that it is only the Word of God which is able to separate spirit and soul, even the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. If we are born again we have been given a new heart. It is in this knowledge which we can take confidence and accept God’s estimation of all flesh and His remedy, even the Cross of Christ unto death.

Vanity, vanity all is vanity.

May the Lord deliver us from vain philosophy and reason?

 2012/9/2 10:01

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936

 Re: amrkelly

thankyou amrkelly.

 2012/9/2 15:34Profile

Joined: 2012/9/2
Posts: 4

 Re: to hold any one guilty of sin for not doing what he could not do, belongs to the

Dear Proudpapa, thank you for directing me to this forum! Very interesting indeed. I have to admit I've been divorced from these kinds of in-depth discussions for a long time so it'll take a while for the gears to get cranking! But I'm glad to see a discussion about the distinction between sin which exists as part of our natural condition and sin which exists as a deliberate act of will. I love David's prayer, where he asks to be kept by the Lord from deliberate sins so they may not rule over him and make him guilty of great transgression, yet also asks the Lord to forgive him of his hidden faults (Psalm 19 vs 13/14). This implies to me that there is something wrong with our basic condition - whether you want to go on to discuss whether we are intrinsically good or bad is a massive step beyond the basics (and quite confusing to me!).

The difference between intentional and non-intentional sins is clear in scripture but, as we see in Leviticus, punishment and judgement is given over sins which are non-deliberate also. If I do not deliberately forget that it was my sisters birthday and do not get her a gift, I did nothing wrong by deliberation, but my forgetfulness could be the symptom of a deeper inner condition which results in my sister feeling the sting of neglect (albeit mild). Sinister as it may sound, I know there is a sin which sits inside me which causes fruitlessness in my life which I may not deliberately intend. A lack of love, or an apathy, or a drivenness of soul... all these can produce quite bad fruit.

To aim only to be free of deliberate sins can easily end quite legalistically. Paul manages to attain a perfect legalistic righteousness in his zeal for God (Philippians 3.6) yet was an enemy to the Gospel at the time. On paper, I can force myself into all sorts of righteous habits and keep a blameless record - I can, thus, deceive myself into thinking I am spiritual. Blamelessness, righteousness, and upholding the law are a) possible (Proverbs 2.21, 1 Thessalonians 5.23) and b) required (Romans 3.30-31), but if we satisfy ourselves only to accomplish these goals only, we neglect to realise that love goes far beyond the basic requirements of the Law.

Many Pharisees may have been like Saul, having a legalistic righteousness and being righteous on the outside, not deliberately acting sinfully. But true purity is not found on your outer record, but it is found in your inner condition from which the outer record results. A good tree produces good fruit...

It is not enough for me to claim innocence because my sins were not deliberate - though the devil might tempt me. I need to actively pursue cleansing my heart before God because if I don't, bad fruit will result from a bad inner condition. It just will, regardless of whether I intend it or not, regardless of whether I can help it or not (the Romans 7 dilemma)! If you think you're okay just because you manage, normally, not to deliberately sin, your house is on the sand and will not stand when the storm comes your way. True spirituality goes much deeper than the written code.

So I pursue a purity of heart so that I can trust that when the moment comes and I don't have time to think or deliberate, when temptation hits me like a hammer in the dark, good fruit will result automatically, without me needing to think or try so hard it just... will... happen! Sin sits there, waiting for an opportunity to catch you unaware. So best not tolerate it by excusing yourself in saying it was not deliberate and you can't help it... best catch it before it catches you! Judge yourself so that judgement doesn't come upon you (1 Corinthians 11:32). Actually, people who truly seek God cannot stand the thought that sin lurks in waiting for them to catch them. Rather, those who truly seek God hold every thought captive and purify their hearts - that way they see God better! Dig the weeds up from the root, don't be happy just to cut off that which is obvious and above the surface!

Summarised to a point of simplicity; we're talking about the war between two natures; the sinful and the spiritual. Quite naturally, children sin without being taught (quite non-deliberately too). Quite naturally, a parent punishes the child so that they may learn. Quite naturally, a man whose mind is controlled by the Spirit (Romans 8:6) produces good fruit without too much need for manufactured deliberation.

You can manufacture goodness in your life by forcing your outer actions to take on the appearance of goodness; but then it is no longer natural nor spiritual and most probably disgusts God with its lukewarm half-good-but-not-natural odour. Better to actually *be* good, from your very gut, with the goodness of God won for you by Christ and manifested in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then watch and wait, and the good that you accomplish will have a taste and nature that is so appealing that the counterfeit will be distinguished from the true, just like when the people saw that Jesus' authority was real, as opposed to the Pharisees, whose authority was only a manufactured outer facade.

That's how I see it anyway. Did I understand the subject?

Many thanks.

 2012/9/2 19:08Profile

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


Real strong post, Stevey_P., with lots of meat. I don't have time to comment on the particulars that stand out to me, but it is all very good with sound exegesis and I am agreement with you. Welcome to the forum, by the way! It is a pleasure to have you here brother.


Paul Frederick West

 2012/9/2 21:02Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2003
Joplin, Missouri


Stevey_P: Welcome to SI. Great post. You are absolutely right. To try to manufacture holiness as a carnal act of the human will is to enter into a legalism akin that of the Pharisees. I think it was C.S. Lewis, I could be mistaken, who said that no act of good, no matter how good it may appear in the flesh, is really good if the heart from which it came is evil. Another way to put it would be, who wants to be the best sinner who ever went to hell? But when we learn to live out that which is true of us in the spirit when we are born again, when we allow God to live through us being dead to self and alive unto Him, then our actions are a natural outflow of the Spirit of God within us.

I am not sure I have come to a conclusion about how I see man's nature. I am not sure that man is born with a sin nature, although I am sure that man is born in sin and bound for hell barring the rebirth. Perhaps I will never be totally settled on this issue, perhaps I will. I am convinced that there is no duality of natures in a born again man. But then I guess I am speaking entirely of the spirit of man and not the physical body, because I am also convinced that the soul and flesh of man (body, mind, will, emotions) are not born again, and will not be until that time when in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye... So, even a born again man will battle the unregenerate flesh and must learn to walk in the Spirit rather than to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

ArmKelly: Really appreciated your posts. I am going to have to go back and reread them as I get a chance. I honestly have never studied the writings of Augustine and have only a cursory knowledge of some of the teachings and writings of the early church fathers. One only has so many hours in a day and a lot of commitments. So, I spend most of my time purely in the Word. I am not one that is much for studying various theological perspectives. But I found what you wrote about Augustine interesting and hope to chew on what you said.

Blessings Brothers in Christ.


 2012/9/2 22:05Profile

Joined: 2011/10/23
Posts: 1863


a phenominal amount of knowlage in your answer to proudpappa ,andrew ,,,iv never read anything like that last post

a question ,,do you think that agustine was ever bornagain

and im not sure if you answerd this question ,,,,do you think he changed his mind about his early teachings

 2012/9/3 2:16Profile

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