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View Poll Results: Does God Ever Impute Sin to His Elect in Christ (from eternity to eternity)?

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  • Yes, God imputes the sin of Adam to all the Elect prior to Christ's death and resurrection.

    1 6.25%
  • Yes, God imputes the sin of Adam to all the Elect prior to their personal regeneration.

    0 0%
  • Yes, God imputes all of the personal sins of the Elect to them until they repent.

    0 0%
  • No, God never imputes sin to His Elect at any time in any measure.

    15 93.75%
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Thread: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

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    Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    This thread will renew debate on a question that is old to this forum but virtually never asked by any sect of Christianity. It is timely and relevant to discuss this issue fairly often, considering the historical dogma involved.

    The doctrine of God's immutability is what is at stake here.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”

    I remember asking about this verse and being told that we didn’t know why Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord and I was never content with that answer. I fully expected to be directed to the purpose of God in election and was very surprised that I didn’t receive a clear answer.

    The grace that the elect have In Christ was given us before the world began and it was real grace.

    2 Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

    It is by that real grace (the imputed righteousness of Christ) before the world began that “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” Romans 4:8

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    I voted - No, God never imputes sin to His Elect at any time in any measure.

    Rom 4:8, (KJV), Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    Blessed we are!
    Rom 8:18-21, (NASB), For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    1. How is the doctrine of God's immutability at stake by a change in imputation of a creature? Why couldn't God impute sin to the elect and then impute the righteousness of Christ to an elect person at some later time according to His immutable perfect righteousness and omnipotent sovereign will?
    2. If God does not impute sin to the elect at any time in any measure, does that necessarily mean that God eternally imputes the righteousness of Christ to the elect? Can they be in a non-imputed or neutral position?
    3. If the elect have the righteousness of Christ eternally imputed to them, what meaning, if any, do justification by faith and justification by the death and resurrection of Jesus have?

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Dan:

    How is the doctrine of God's immutability at stake by a change in imputation of a creature?

    Imputation has to do with how God regards, considers, accounts, or vindicates a creature. The issue here is the consistency of God's immutability in the economies of creation and redemption. If God purposes transcendent of time and space to create a unique soul distinct from all others, unless His purpose and disposition with regard to that soul is consistent in all moments of time once time itself is created, God is proposed to have changed His disposition at some historical moment.

    Why couldn't God impute sin to the elect and then impute the righteousness of Christ to an elect person at some later time according to His immutable perfect righteousness and omnipotent sovereign will?

    Because this would make God's disposition toward a creature subject to the law of time and inconsistent at different moments of history. If the sovereign will of God is omnipotent and His righteousness unchanging, there is no historical circumstance that could possibly change His purpose or disposition toward any creature.

    If God does not impute sin to the elect at any time in any measure, does that necessarily mean that God eternally imputes the righteousness of Christ to the elect? Can they be in a non-imputed or neutral position?

    Based on the considerations already discussed, the answer to the first is YES and the second is NO. The infinite God never variates in His infinite disposition to love, save, and impute Christ's purposed rightness to His elect chosen transcendent of time. To withhold the imputation of Christ's righteousness in a manner that puts His elect in a temporally 'neutral' status would imply that God's infinite passion or desire to save is variable over time. Imputation has to do with God's DISPOSITION or how He REGARDS a creature; this NEVER changes.

    If the elect have the righteousness of Christ eternally imputed to them, what meaning, if any, do justification by faith and justification by the death and resurrection of Jesus have?

    Justification is tri-dimensional:

    1. Eternal as God's sovereign purpose (Rom. 8:28ff).
    2. Historically constituted, ratified, established, and declared certain in the person and work of Christ for all the elect corporately (Rom. 5:12-21).
    3. Historically declared for each elect person individually at the time that God gives faith to an elect person (Rom. 3:20-31, Rom. 4).

    The fact that God declares the justified status of the elect in Christ historically (with such status being undeclared at prior moments) in no way changes God's own DISPOSITION of justification and imputation towards all the elect at all moments of time and transcendent of time.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Excellent responses by bro. Robert.

    I must mention that if in some way there is a change in God's eternal disposition trancendent of time towards His elect or even reprobated souls, this would be at minimum an admission that God's basis and ground for rendering a verdict of righteousness towards His elect is based on forsight of future events and performance of the creature, and not a forknowledge that lies within God Himself.

    This to me puts those (reformed) in the Arminian and Augustine camp. Although those two camps differ greatly, however they are agreed in confessing a certain mutability that lies within the character of God.

    A mutability that the scriptures do not teach.

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    Justification is tri-dimensional:

    1. Eternal as God's sovereign purpose (Rom. 8:28ff).
    2. Historically constituted, ratified, established, and declared certain in the person and work of Christ for all the elect corporately (Rom. 5:12-21).
    3. Historically declared for each elect person individually at the time that God gives faith to an elect person (Rom. 3:20-31, Rom. 4).

    The fact that God declares the justified status of the elect in Christ historically (with such status being undeclared at prior moments) in no way changes God's own DISPOSITION of justification and imputation towards all the elect at all moments of time and transcendent of time.
    Is the KJV using "imputed" improperly in Rom. 4:11, 22-24 to denote historical declarations? Faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness. Righteousness shall be imputed to believers.

    Is the KJV using "imputed" improperly in Rom. 5:13 to denote an historic situation? Sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    Is the KJV using "imputing" improperly in 2 Cor. 5:19 to denote historic work of Jesus Christ. God was in Christ reconciling the world, not imputing their trespasses.

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Dan,

    Of course I'm going to answer 'no' to all of your questions but I don't quite see where you are headed with them. Imputation is a crediting of righteousness both in God's unchanging disposition AND in the historical events tied to His eternal purposes of justification in the person and work of Christ. In the case of Abraham and all other believers, the historical giving of faith is the first public declaration of INDIVIDUAL, personal justification.

    --Bob
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    I actually thought you might answer 'yes' to all the questions. Most non-KJV translations use some other word. My thinking was that imputation should be reserved solely for God's eternal disposition toward the elect soul. If imputation is a "crediting of righteousness both in God's unchanging disposition AND in the historical events," then God imputes historically what He has already imputed eternally. I don't see any difference between the tri-fold imputation of righteousness and the three dimensions of justification.

    But, let's return to the original question posed by the thread. Are the elect ever under the law (Gal. 4:4-5)? If yes and the KJV translation is correct, then sin is imputed to the elect at some point historically.

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gerhard View Post
    I actually thought you might answer 'yes' to all the questions. Most non-KJV translations use some other word. My thinking was that imputation should be reserved solely for God's eternal disposition toward the elect soul. If imputation is a "crediting of righteousness both in God's unchanging disposition AND in the historical events," then God imputes historically what He has already imputed eternally. I don't see any difference between the tri-fold imputation of righteousness and the three dimensions of justification.

    But, let's return to the original question posed by the thread. Are the elect ever under the law (Gal. 4:4-5)? If yes and the KJV translation is correct, then sin is imputed to the elect at some point historically.
    Dan:

    I always understood this text under the perspective of this thread, as saying:

    imputed: eternally
    redeemed: in the time the text indicates
    adopted: in the time the text indicates

    Note that legally a redemption of something is not necessarily when the "ownership" is verified. Also an adoption does not occur, and did not occur even in the Hellenistic world, when the adopting parents decided in their heart to adopt the child. So I see no problem of "redemption and adoption in time".

    Dr. Trump from the 7th Reformed Church in Grand Rapids MI has a BLESSED series on ADOPTION which he claims is one of the most neglected doctrines in Reformed circle although is one of the most glorious one.

    I hope I am not being to hasty here, but, if the expression "under the law" is an indication that "at some time God did impute sin upon the elect" then the first mention of "under the law" as in "...born under the law" may signify an imputation of sin. I am sure you have Bible texts that proof that to be "under the law" is equivalent to having sin imputed. Am I making any sense?

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Being "under the law" is guilt before God through the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:19-20). The elect were under the law until the time of redemption and adoption (Gal. 4:1-5). The elect were under God's curse until Christ was cursed by God (Gal. 3:10-13).

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    The scriptures certainly teach that the elect are guilty as judged by the law (an experiential guilt). However, the Lord never imputes this guilt to them in His own reckoning of the status of their souls. The elect who lived prior to Christ's first advent did not have their experiential guilt imputed (Rom. 3:25).
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    This thread will renew debate on a question that is old to this forum but virtually never asked by any sect of Christianity. It is timely and relevant to discuss this issue fairly often, considering the historical dogma involved.

    The doctrine of God's immutability is what is at stake here.
    It all depends on how you translate impute. I believe in your myopic narrow translation one can say no. But in the broadest acceptable understanding of the word logizomi, then yes, there is a reckoning, a passing to ones account. This absolutely does nothing to God's immutability. His immutability is NEVER spoken of His dealings with men, only in regards to His attributes, essence, and His will.

    When you state: Imputation has to do with God's DISPOSITION or how He REGARDS a creature; this NEVER changes.

    Where have you determined this definition? The Greek and Hebrew does not allow it in any lexicon I have read. Also, where have you found your definition of immutability equaling His disposition towards men? I am not saying the elect are ever under the judicial wrath of God, but He hates sin. Regardless if its an elect or reprobate, His anger towards sin never can change. Can I impugn God is being mutable because He gave Israel sundry laws through Moses then disanulled them when the Sinai economy ceased? Absolutely not.

    As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous.


    For he, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

    These 2 scriptures irrefutably speak of a double imputation of adam's sin to us and then to Christ. Just because there is an imputation of Adam;s sin to the elect does not mean that punishment MUST follow. If nothing was charged to our acocunt, then how could it be imputed to Christ as our substitute? Just as Christ was the object of both Love and wrath on the cross did not make Gos immutable, then neither can the double imputation of sin reardig the elect make Him so.

    IV. We believe, That God created the first man, Adam, after his image, and in his likeness, an upright, holy, and innocent creature, capable of serving and glorifying him: (Gen. 1:26, 27; Eccl. 7:29; Ps. 8:5) but he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and came short of the glory of God; (Rom. 5:12 and 3:23) the guilt of whose sin is imputed; (Rom. 5:12, 14, 18, 19; 1 Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:3) and a corrupt nature derived to all his offspring descending from him by ordinary and natural generation: (Job 14:4; Ps. 51:5; John 3:6; Ezek. 16:4-6) that they are by their first birth carnal and unclean; averse to all that is good, incapable of doing any, and prone to every (Rom. 8:7, 8 and 3:10-12; Gem 6:5) sin: and are also by nature children of wrath, and under a sentence of condemnation; (Eph. 2:3; Rom. 5:12, 18) and so are subject, not only to a corporal death, (Gen. 2:7; Rom. 5:12, 14; Heb. 9:27) and involved in a moral one, commonly called spiritual; (Matthew 8:21; Luke 15:24, 32; John 5:25; Eph. 3:1) but are also liable to an eternal death, (Rom. 5:18 and 6:23; Eph. 2:3) as considered in the first Adam, fallen and sinners; from all which there is no deliverance, but by Christ, the second Adam. (Rom. 6:23 and 7:24, 25 and 8:2; 2 Tim. 1:10; 1 Cor. 15:45, 47) (Gills Catechism)
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    The scriptures certainly teach that the elect are guilty as judged by the law (an experiential guilt). However, the Lord never imputes this guilt to them in His own reckoning of the status of their souls. The elect who lived prior to Christ's first advent did not have their experiential guilt imputed (Rom. 3:25).
    Bob, we die because of sin. We do not 'experientially' die. As I said before, your 'doctrine' is very very close to denying original sin and does deny imputed sin of Adam.

    Please exegete this passage

    Romans 5:12 "Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned."

    Paul uses the aorist indicative which speaks of a "completed past action. Something happened and was completed in the past`all men sinned.' But it is not true that all men had actually sinned at the time that Paul was writing, or that Paul was saying we all would eperientially sin once being born. Paul must be meaning that when Adam sinned, God considered it true that all men sinned in Adam." Verse 12 the "all sinned" is considered to be the same as the sin of Adam. When Adam sinned, we sinned. Since we did not yet exist when Adam sinned, this must mean that we are imputed with the sin of Adam. The Pelagian agrees with you because he looks at this verse and says Paul is speaking of the sin we actually commit. Adam becomes some sort of cosmic model of what we all will do and experience.
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    In post 13, I need to make a correction. I stated:

    Just as Christ was the object of both Love and wrath on the cross did not make Gos immutable, then neither can the double imputation of sin reardig the elect make Him so.

    It should say: Just as Christ was the object of both Love and wrath on the cross did not make God mutable, then neither can the double imputation of sin regarding the elect make Him so.
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    2 Cor. 5:21 certainly teaches a dual imputation, that we can all agree on. It is the third imputation of Adam's sin to all mankind that we will never agree.

    I completely deny the 'third imputation' doctrine of Gill (i.e., Augustine) on this one.

    Rom. 5:12-21:

    1. Through one man sinful rebellion entered the world.
    2. Adam represented all of the elect in his act of rebellion, though he was not a SUBSTITUTE for them. All of the elect commit the same rebellion as Adam in their own personal experience--THIS is what 'death spread to all because all sinned' is referring to. The elect all sin in the likeness of Adam. Historically, 'death spreading to all' refers to an unfolding of a sequence of deaths over time, not to an imputed death of Adam himself. Even so, the 'all sinned' is an unfolding of the rebellion engaged by each elect human being entering history over time.
    3. The rebellion of Adam historically ESTABLISHED all of the elect as sinners as he represented them all.

    If the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin is true, all personal rebellion beyond that point is entirely irrelevant. Even if every other descendent were to be conceived in perfect holiness, they would all go to eternal damnation and suffer infinitely for Adam's sin (according to the guilt 'formula' of Western theology). So the fact that they are conceived in iniquity adds nothing to their condemnation in this scheme.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    ALL: I am using impute as 'reckon' or 'account'. When I referred to God's disposition as imputation I was talking about how He always reckons 'rightness' to His elect from eternity to eternity.

    LOJ: Can I impugn God is being mutable because He gave Israel sundry laws through Moses then disanulled them when the Sinai economy ceased? Absolutely not.

    The purpose of the Sinai economy was to be a ministration of death (2 Cor. 3) and God intended it for that purpose from eternity to eternity. It historically unfolded over time as the ministration of death it was predestined to be, proving the futility of achieving rightness with God by personal obedience to the Law. Only Christ was able to fulfill it.

    For the larger perspective, consider the state of the present Earth. God's purpose in creating it was to subject it to futility/decay and ultimately destroy it by His presence (of course, the New Earth finally emerges from the same material matter that the old earth was composed of, with no principle of futility or decay present). God has not yet historically fulfilled His eternal purpose of the dissolution of the shadow creation--new temporal life continues to spring forth abundantly from previous decay and death. But it is always God's purpose and desire to eliminate it entirely.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    The scriptures certainly teach that the elect are guilty as judged by the law (an experiential guilt). However, the Lord never imputes this guilt to them in His own reckoning of the status of their souls. The elect who lived prior to Christ's first advent did not have their experiential guilt imputed (Rom. 3:25). . .

    If the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin is true, all personal rebellion beyond that point is entirely irrelevant. Even if every other descendent were to be conceived in perfect holiness, they would all go to eternal damnation and suffer infinitely for Adam's sin (according to the guilt 'formula' of Western theology). So the fact that they are conceived in iniquity adds nothing to their condemnation in this scheme.
    Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Free-will Protestantism all deny the guilt 'formula' of Western theology you describe. However, confessional Lutheranism and Calvinism do teach that God imputes Adam's guilt directly to his progeny without the need for any additional experiential sin:

    "And even at the present day, in this corruption, God does not create and make sin in us, but with the nature which God at the present day still creates and makes in men, original sin is propagated from sinful seed, through carnal conception and birth from father and mother. . . That this hereditary evil is the guilt that, by reason of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, we are all in God's displeasure, and by nature children of wrath, as the apostle shows." Formula of Concord, Original Sin

    "They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation." Westminster Confession, Chapter 6

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    Gerhard: Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Free-will Protestantism all deny the guilt 'formula' of Western theology you describe.

    RCC and Protestantism do not and you cannot demonstrate that they do. Both RCC and the major Protestant systems follow Augustine on imputed guilt. Pelagians and semi-Pelagians, of course, deny the Augustinian formula of hell-wrath guilt to all in the sin of Adam. Certain free-will denominations do have a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian foundation. But these deny the fact that all persons are conceived in iniquity, something clearly taught in the scriptures.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Does God Ever Impute Sin to the Elect in Christ?

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church denies the formula of non-experiential guilt of Adam's sin you describe: Human nature is "deprived of original holiness and justice"; however, fallen man does not inherit Adam's personal sin as actual imputed guilt. The RCC Catechism states that the first Protestant reformers (i.e., Lutherans, Calvinists, etc.) falsely "taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil." See http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm#III

    404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam \"as one body of one man\".293 By this \"unity of the human race\" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called \"sin\" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin \"contracted\" and not \"committed\" - a state and not an act.
    405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence\". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
    406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).
    Catechism of the Catholic Church-The Fall

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