Skip to content

All sin is voluntary

August 14, 2007

Augustine here argues that all sin is voluntary. Yet this does not limit the extent of sin as narrowly as one would suppose. This remark is taken from his Retractions 1, 13 concerning a remark he made in his book Of True Religion.

Sin is so much voluntary evil, that there would be no such thing as sin unless it were voluntary. . . . Sins which are not unjustifiably said to be non-voluntary because they are committed in ignorance or under compulsion cannot be said to be committed entirely involuntarily. He who sins in ignorance uses his will to some extent, for he thinks he should do what in fact ought not to be done. He who does not the things that he would because the flesh lusteth against the spirit, may be unwilling but he lusts all the same, and thereby does not the things he would. If he is overcome he voluntarily consents to lust, and thereby does what he wishes, being free from righteousness and the servant of sin. What we call original sin in infants, who have no yet the use of free choice, may not absurdly also be called voluntary, because it originated in man’s first evil will and has become in a manner hereditary.*

________

*Augustine, Earlier Writings, trans. John H. S. Burleigh (Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1953), 219.

 

 

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: