Augustine’s Mistake: Backward Theology

“Jewish thinkers concur with Pelagius’s position that no human being is tainted by the sins of Adam—but only by his own sinful deeds.”

Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel

Either God is all-goodness, but not all-mighty, or He is all-mighty, but not all-goodness.

Starting with Man and working backward in relation to God is exactly what happened in Western theology in the 3rd to 5th centuries.  In his defensive apologetic zeal to discredit the optimistic British monk Pelagius for claiming that man maintained moral free will after the Fall and for rejection of the doctrine of Original Sin, St. Augustine walked right down the misguided path described in the preceding post. And the Western church, which includes Roman Catholics and Evangelical and Reformed Protestants, has been flailing around with this unsolvable problem, in italics above, for over 1,500 years and are no closer to an answer today than they were when they first made the mistake.  Rather than re-think their theology, the Western church hardened its position into dogma and so it continues to struggle with the problem to this day.  To discuss these Afterthoughts of man with some related additions including sin, heaven and hell, purgatory, faith and sacraments, would be to survey the history of Augustinianism through its various historical phases.

Excerpt from the book “First Thoughts“.

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