Original Sin

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Gen. 2:17

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Rom. 5:12




How did the First Sin Happen?

Works Against the Roman Apologist Bellarmine  (who treated of Original Sin)



Order of Contents

Early Church
How Persons are Rightly Guilty of Original Sin in Them





Rutherford, Samuel – ‘How Adam’s sin and Christ’s righteousness are ours’  being pp. 234-5 of The Covenant of Life Opened  1655



Alexander, Archibald

‘The Early History of Pelagianism’  1830  28 pp.  in Princeton Theological Essays, pp. 80-108

‘Original Sin’  1830  19 pp.  in Princeton Theological Essays, pp. 109-127

‘The Doctrine of Original Sin as Held by the Church, Both Before and After the Reformation’  Oct. 1830  in The Biblical Repertory and Theological Review

Hodge, Charles

‘The Imputation of Sin’  1830  88 pp. in 3 parts in Princeton Theological Essays, pp. 128-217

‘Commentary on Rom. 5:12-21’  1837  in Commentary on Romans

Systematic Theology, vol. 2, Part II, ‘Anthropology’, ch. 8, ‘Sin’

8. ‘The Effects of Adam’s Sin upon his Posterity’  p. 192
9. ‘Immediate Imputation’  pp. 192-213
10. ‘Mediate Imputation’  pp. 205-214
12. ‘Realistic Theory’  pp. 216-226
13. ‘Original Sin’  pp. 227-254
14. ‘The Seat of Original Sin’  pp. 254-257
15. ‘Inability’  pp. 257-279

Shedd, W.G.T.

‘The Doctrine of Original Sin’  1852  54 pp.  in Theological Essays, pp. 211-264

‘Original Sin’  1888  93 pp.  being ch. 5 of Dogmatic Theology, pp. 168-260

‘Commentary on Rom. 5:12-21’  in Commentary on Romans

Baird, Samuel J.

The First Adam and the Second: the Elohim Revealed in the Creation and Redemption of Man  1860  700 pp.

A Rejoinder to the Princeton Review upon The Elohim Revealed, touching the Doctrine of Imputation and Kindred Topics  1860  40 pp.

The anecdote in the first two pages gives a summary of the whole, shows in part the problems that Charles Hodge’s view is liable to, and gives the occasion and reason for the publication of his book on the topic above.

Thornwell, James H.

‘Original Sin’  in Collected Writings, vol. 1, Lecture 13, pp. 301-351

‘Nature of our Interest in the Sin of Adam: being a Review of Baird’s Elohim Revealed’   1860  57 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 1, pp. 515-572

Breckinridge, R.J. – pp. 498-502 of ch. 32, ‘Origin of Evil… Fall of Man…’  in The Knowledge of God Objectively Considered  

Landis, Robert

The Doctrine of Original Sin as Received and Taught by the Churches of the Reformation Stated and Defended, and the Error of Dr. Hodge in Claiming that the Doctrine Recognizes the Gratuitous Imputation of Sin, Pointed Out and Refuted  1884  572 pp.

”Unthinkable Propositions’ and Original Sin’  in The Southern Presbyterian Review, April, 1875, pp. 298-315

‘The Gratuitous Imputation of Sin’  in The Southern Presbyterian Review, vol. 27, 1876, pp. 318-352

Dabney, Robert

‘The Doctrine of Original Sin’  1884  25 pp.  being a review of Landis’ book above.  In Discussions, vol. 1, pp. 143-168

pp. 253-281 of ‘Hodge’s Systematic Theology’  in Discussions, vol. 1

Lectures 27-29, ‘The Fall and Original Sin’   1878  45 pp.  in Systematic Theology, pp. 306-351

Cunningham, William

Original Sin  1863, p. 386, 8 pp.  from his Historical Theology, vol. 2

The Doctrines of the Fall and of the Will,  p. 496 and p. 568 respectively, 70 pp. & 41 pp. respectively, from his Historical Theology, vol. 1



Berkhof, Louis – Original Sin and Actual Sin  1950  18 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology




ed. Jean-Francois Salvard, Theodore Beza, Lambert Daneau, Antoine de la Roche Chandieu & Simon Goulart – The Fourth Section, ‘Of Man’s Fall, Sin and Free-Will’  1581  in The Harmony of Protestant Confessions, pp. 57-80

In 1581, the first Harmony of Protestant Reformed Confessions of Faith was published in Geneva.  It was the result of a collaboration between the Huguenot ministers listed above.

They published it in response to the publication of the Lutheran Book of Concord in 1580.  It included a comparison of eleven Reformed confessions and the Lutheran Augsburg Confession.  In 1842, it was translated into English, reorganized and enlarged by Peter Hall.



The Early Church on Original Sin

‘Original Sin’  in ‘Patristic Passages of Interest for Lutherans’  2014  13 pp.

The article gives excerpts from Augustine, Hilary, Ambrose, Cyril of Alexandria & Origen.



How Persons are Rightly Guilty of Original Sin in Them


Peter van Mastricht

Theoretical-Practical Theology  (RHB), vol. 3, bk. 4, ch. 2

section 22, pp. 458-9

“From these things, what they object to the contrary can be dealt with easily, namely: (1) the primary-first motions of sins or of concupiscence, although they ack prior consent, nevertheless do not lack all consent.  (2) That man is a rational being. For it does not follow from this that all his acts are rational or voluntary.  For there are also natural acts, such as falling down, and those things for example that are committed during sleep. I would not say that all acts of the will flow from the prior consent of the will; it is sufficient that they have concomitant consent.  This can also be responded regarding original sin: for that also has the concomitant consent of the will, although it does not have antecedent consent.”


section 23, pp. 459-60

“Nor is it a hindrance: (1) that it [Original Sin] was not voluntary in every way, for it is sufficient
(a) for it to be voluntary antecedently in the cause, namely in our first parents; (b) for it to be voluntary concomitantly in their posterity themselves, insofar
as it exists in them not against the will, but with it. I need not mention that (c) lawlessness is sufficient for the constitution of sin.

(2) That the law nowhere prohibits being born with sin; for it is sufficient that it everywhere prohibits existing with sin, and in particular, wrongly coveting (Ex. 20:17; Rom. 7:7).

(9) That concupiscence is said to produce sin (James 1:14); since nothing hinders sin from producing sin, that is, inchoate sin from producing consummated sin.”




“For it is better to bring good from evil than to never permit evil to be.”
“Melius enim iudicavit de malis benefacere, quam mala nulla esse permittere.”

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Rom. 5:20-21




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