Skip to content

Sinful nature?

April 15, 2011

Jaroslav Pelikan

“It would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that the most explicit doctrines of original sin in the second century were taught not by the church fathers, but by the Gnostics; it is also misleading to speak of a “doctrine of original sin” in church fathers such as Irenaeus. Nevertheless, the theories of cosmic redemption in the Gnostic systems were based on an understanding of the human predicament in which man’s incapacity to avoid sin or to evade destiny was fundamental…Simon Magus was accused of teaching that those who were to be saved would receive salvation by grace alone, irrespective of their moral actions, so that moral responsiblity was meaningless… In one way or another, the various schools of Gnosticism depicted man as the victim and slave of forces over which he had no control, and therefore they diagnosed sin as inevitable.” (The Emergence of Catholic Tradition (100-600): pp. 282-283, The State of Christian Anthropology)

http://www.orthodox-christianity.com/2011/02/on-depraved-nature/

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. reyjacobs permalink

    “It would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that the most explicit doctrines of original sin in the second century were taught not by the church fathers, but by the Gnostics;”

    It would not be an exaggeration at all and only an unlearned rube would say so. After all, the guy who popularized the doctrine of original sin was Augustine, and he only believed in it because he had been a Gnostic for 9 years — a Manichean from 17 to 26.

    “the Gnostic systems were based on an understanding of the human predicament in which man’s incapacity to avoid sin or to evade destiny was fundamental”

    The seeds of the doctrine of original sin are NOT found in the gospels. Jesus says stuff like “a good man out of the good treasure of his hear brings forth good things; and evil man, evil things.” Its in Paul and Paul alone that we find any latent leanings towards an ‘original sin’ concept precisely because Paul was a Gnostic. Paul appealed more to Marcion than to Justin Martyr (who never mentions him). In fact, I kinda think Marcion or perhaps an even earlier Gnostic simply invented Paul.

    “Simon Magus was accused of teaching that those who were to be saved would receive salvation by grace alone, irrespective of their moral actions”

    Which makes him sound like Paul. This is why Walter Baur when he read the Pseudo-Clementines (Recognitions of Clement, Homilies of Clement) saw the Simon Magus figure as a cipher for “Paul.” Peter confronts Simon Magus in these works asking why people should listen to a man who just “had a vision” rather than those who were with Jesus daily? In other words, Simon Magus not only teaches salvation by grace alone like Paul but in the Pseudo-Clementines he also had a Damascus road type vision from which he derives his ‘authority’ — just like Paul. Are Paul and Simon Magus, then, one and the same guy? Or rather, it “Paul” a literary character invented by Simon Magus to be his spokesman? (I’m not married to the idea that it was Marcion himself who invented Paul.)

    ” In one way or another, the various schools of Gnosticism depicted man as the victim and slave of forces over which he had no control, and therefore they diagnosed sin as inevitable”

    Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul. Seriously, the Catholics/Orthodox, whatever you want to call it, made the biggest mistake ever in canonizing this freak.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: