Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin (Part 11)
Isn't it an error to argue from the general sins of mankind that Man has a corrupted nature? Because Adam sinned, yet we do not infer from this sin that he had a corrupt nature that led him to sin.
Edwards objects that it is not because a person sins once, but because a person sins "constantly" that we infer that a person is naturally a sinner. If generation after generation of a certain kind of tree bears ill-tasting fruit, no matter where or in what condition trees of that kind are planted, then we properly infer that it is natural for the tree to produce ill-tasting fruit.
Edwards concludes, from the previous discussion:
The general continued wickedness of mankind, against such means and motives [i.e. against barriers to sin, such as conscience and the Law, and such reasons NOT to sin, as previously discussed], proves each of these things, viz. that the cause [for people sinning] is fixed, and that the fixed cause is internal in man’s nature, and also that it is very powerful. It proves, that the cause is fixed, because the effect is so abiding, through so many changes. It proves that the fixed cause is internal, because the circumstances are so various — including a variety of means and motives — and they are such circumstances as cannot possibly cause the effect, being most opposite to it in their tendency. And it proves the greatness of the internal cause; or that the propensity is powerful; because the means which have opposed its influence, have been so great, and yet have been statedly overcome.
Labels: Reformation Theology