Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin (Part 27)

Published November 23, 2012 by Andrew Lindsey in Reformation Theology

Notes from The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended 3.1.


I. The consistent testimony of Scripture is that all whom Christ came to redeem are sinners.

A. Are specifically said to be sinners in regard to His redemption (Matt 1:21; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 John 4:9-10; Gal 3:22).

B. The doctrine of sacrifices is indicative that all are sinners; sacrifices, which were types of Christ were given due to the peoples’ need for remission.

II. Scripture presents the fruit of God’s love as the redemption by Christ of those who deserve destruction (John 3:16; 5:24).

III. A denial of Original Sin would logically lead to the conclusion that Christ by His death not only “redeems” many who are not sinners (i.e., those who die in infancy), but that He also redeems  many who are subject to no calamity of any kind.

A. Without the doctrine of Original Sin, any hardship– including death– that infants suffer cannot be explained as a calamity from which we need salvation.

B. Mortality and the hardships associated with mortality are consistently presented in Scripture as that from which we need salvation.

IV. The logical consequences concerning infants in regard to a denial of Original Sin are equally relevant concerning adults.

A. Without Original Sin, people would not need Christ to accomplish salvation, for they would be sufficient in their own power to do that which God requires.

B. If we have sufficient power in ourselves to do that which God requires, then– according to the Apostle– Christ died in vain (Gal 2:21).

C. Christ’s death cannot be thought of as necessary to deliver men from under the dominion of their own evil appetites and passions, which they placed themselves under by their own folly.
1. Either they can extricate themselves from the sway of their evil appetites and passions, or the same objections that were brought against the Doctrine of Original Sin ay be brought against this idea of unconquerable sin.
2. Specifically, those who argue against Original Sin often say that “a necessary evil can be no moral evil;” any sin from which we absolutely need a Savior, therefore, can be no moral evil, and this teaching would undermine the need for salvation through Christ.

D. If another means could have secured our salvation, then God would have provided that other means than the death of His Son.

V. In line with the common objection to Original Sin, Christ’s work does not only NOT redeem sinners, but His work also does NOT do any good for people because– according to this understanding– only that which is accomplished by “our own will, choice, and design” carries moral weight.

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