Where Did the Doctrine of Original Sin Come From?
You have been Duped! The Doctrine of Original Sin is NOT a Biblical Teaching. Although many believe wholly they can Prove the existence of this doctrine in the pages of Scripture, but the evidence is dubious and laced with conjecture. The Origins of this Doctrine can be Traced Directly to Fourth Century Rome where it was blended into Christian Teaching from the Pagan Philosophies of the Gnostics and Manicheans.
The Problem is however that these ancient teachings are so removed from our present day thinking, NO ONE can imagine how they could effect what we believe in our churches. But they do! The Doctrine of Original Sin absolutely negates the necessity of Deeds worthy of repentance as Commanded in Scripture. (Mat3:8, Lk3:8, Acts26:18-21) Therefore it is Extremely important to understand where this teaching originated and WHO invented it.
Augustine of Hippo: The Man in the Shadows
Born in 354, in Thagaste in North Africa, under the Roman Empire. The Empire had embraced Christianity as the official State Religion since Emperor Constantine consolidated his power base in the West in 311. This made each succeeding Emperor himself the head honcho of the Church. Nothing could be done without him or against him. He held the power of life and death over all the inhabitants in his Empire.
Underneath his reigning authority were the Bishops, who often opposed one another over systems of belief and Doctrine. Into this world of controversy and schisms Augustine was born and grew to manhood. It is very likely he was quite aware of the brutal persecutions against the Donatus by Emperor Constantine to silence their opposition of his Catholic Authority and knew very well that these factions still existed in the church. But Augustine was not a professing Christian in his youth, although his Mother was a member of the Catholic church, his father was pagan and had high expectations for his son in Roman Society.
Augustine’s parents used their connections to secure a University education for their son in Carthage. As a student he engaged in much loose behavior and soon had a young son from one of his affairs. This lead to a life long obsession with lust that would impact his doctrinal beliefs greatly. While in the city he joined the Manicheans, a syncretistic Gnostic religion founded by a medium called Mani in third century Persia. As a youth, Mani had received revelations by a spirit being he called his 'Twin. Since its foundation, Manichaeism had spread like wildfire through the ancient world, finding many followers, some of them being influential people in Roman society. The Manicheans spoke of Jesus also, as a prophet, alongside Buddha and Zoroaster, but reserved the title of 'Last Prophet or 'Seal of the Prophets for Mani himself.
Where Did the Concept for Original Sin Come from?
The world view of Manichaeism was dualistic: one side was a world of light, inherently good and on the other the material world, inherently evil. Each world was presided over by a god. As everything material, the incarnate part of the human was evil by nature from the day of his conception and was drawn towards sin. Only the immaterial soul, belonging to the world of light, was pure and could not be defiled, not even by the grossest sins of the body. The worst sins in Manichean thinking were the sexual sins, because they resulted in more souls of light becoming imprisoned in evil bodies. According to Manichaeism, mankind was divided into three separate groups of people: the Sinners, the Hearers and the Elect. The Elect were obliged to refrain from all things that bound them to the material world: certain foods, sexual intercourse and manual labor. They were certain to obtain salvation once they died. The Hearers had to observe the same restrictions only on Sundays. They would have to go through more cycles of incarnations before they, too, would reach salvation. Augustine himself was a Hearer.
Manichaeism offered a world view that eliminated the fear of judgment by offering hope for salvation while still living in sin. It also gave an explanation for sin according to which nobody could be singled out as a sinner since all men were born sinners. It’s easy to see how attractive that must have been for Augustine, guilt-ridden as he was over the ongoing fornication in his life. The Manicheans called themselves 'Christians, which made it easier for someone raised Catholic to see himself as an adherent of something that was really Christianity. The Roman Manicheans were very well connected, so opportunities opened up for Augustine he otherwise wouldn’t have had. In 384, aged 30, he became professor of rhetoric at the imperial court in Milan. This was a very prestigious job that brought him close to the Emperor himself.
Given Augustine’s fame in the annals of Christianity, where he is considered the Greatest theologian of Christian Doctrine in all history, it is EASY to see where he derived the bases of his teachings. His background in the Pagan Philosophies of the day set the stage for what would become his understanding of Grace, Faith and Salvation. NO ONE Before Augustine taught that man was Born a Sinner or that his Free Will was in bondage to his flesh. Such Teaching came from the Gnostics.
Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.” Ecc7:29
The Following is a few Examples of what the early church fathers taught:
We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. Justin Martyr, c. 160
We were not created to die, but we die by our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it. Tatian, c. 160
“Woe unto them!” he says, “for they have gone in the way of Cain.” For so also we lie under Adam’s sin through similarity of sin. Clement of Alexandria c. 195
“If thou wilt be perfect.” Consequently he was not yet perfect. For nothing is more perfect than what is perfect. And divinely the expression “if thou wilt” showed the self-determination of the soul holding converse with Him. For choice depended on the man as being free; but the gift on God as the Lord. And He gives to those who are willing and are exceedingly earnest, and ask, that so their salvation may become their own. For God compels not (for compulsion is repugnant to God), but supplies to those who seek, and bestows on those who ask, and opens to those who knock.
Clement of Alexandria c. 195
(For more click here)
Regardless what you THINK the Bible says about Free Will and Original sin, you MUST ask yourself WHY these Disciples (Direct Descendants of the Apostles) Affirmed that man was born innocent with FULL Freedom of choice if he wasn't, WHO taught them these things? It Certainly appears that their understanding of Scripture was Radically Different than what the Present day churches are teaching and what Augustine came up with. The truth is somebody has it drastically Wrong and 'Will the Real Heretics please stand up!
In 381 the reigning Emperor started putting pressure on the Manicheans in order to put an end to their influence. Fearing for his life, Augustine turned to pagan Greek philosophy. He delved deep into philosophical thought, especially into Neoplatonist philosophy. Neoplatonism was the most religious branch of pagan Greek philosophy. It believed in one God and theorized about the qualities of this “ineffable and transcendent One”. An example of Neoplatonist reasoning would be: God is perfect and to someone who already has perfection change could only be to the worse - therefore God can't change, and is: immutable. To them, God was beyond any human likeness. The main pursuit of the Neoplatonists - and this would remain Augustine's pursuit through his entire life - was the pursuit of happiness. In this, a higher source of happiness had always to be preferred over a lesser, the best source being one that was immutable. An augmentation to finding an immutable source of happiness was only thinkable if the receiving of that happiness was not contingent upon the potentially changing will of the recipient.
Augustine’s conversion to Catholicism came shortly after this through listening to a the preaching of a man named Ambrose, who interrupted the Old Testament Scriptures in a way that Augustine found intriguing. His diversion to Christianity was especially the apparent image of a God who CHANGED His mind revealed in the Old Testament. Augustine’s Neoplantonist thinking could not abide with that. God was ‘immutable’ (He did not change!) Ambrose presented an alternate view that the Old Testament was
allegorical not literal Thus the stories of God interacting with man and changing His Mind was not factual and did not truly represent the Divine Nature.
Again ANYONE can see that these beliefs are the bases of Present Day Christian Doctrine! If God is immutable or does not change His Mind, then Election and Predestination are Mandatory. Since man is Born into sin, according to these Pagan teachings, and morally incapable of making a Right Choice, its God who Decides who is saved and who is not saved. Man attributes Nothing to the Process of Salvation. In this is the fatalistic understanding that man is merely a pawn and nothing he does nor doesn’t do can make any difference toward the outcome of his salvation.
The Philosophers and scholars of the Roman Empire occupied many positions of power and were able to weld great influence over Roman Society. When the Emperor declared Christianity as the only legitimate national religion, many of them quickly changed their strips and joined up with the Catholic church. However they ALSO brought with them a variety of pagan teachings, relics and idols and blended them into the church, as we have shown. Among these supposed Converts Augustine would become the lead interrupter of Scripture that would dictate the future of Christian Doctrine to this VERY DAY!
Augustine was an avid writer in Latin (he could not read or understand Greek) and literally volumes of his works have been copied and re-copied throughout history and studied in all the leading Bible colleges in the world. The Westminster Confession of faith, framed by the reformers in 1600 England is ENTIRELY Augustinian. Nearly the entire ‘Christian world without exception firmly embraces section VI of this Confession that affirms the existence of Original Sin.
One may ask, ‘Can we Not hold to the Doctrine of Original Sin and STILL preach the Gospel of Grace?’
By No Means! The Doctrine itself renders the Gospel ineffective. By Necessity this Doctrine creates a System of lies to support it. The most devastating of them is what they've done to the Process of Salvation, destroying man’s Free Will to Obey and turns God into a Tyrant by Commanding Him to do something he is incapable of Doing. Therefore man’s will is in Vain, unless God’s Wills for him. Thus this necessitates a re-interruption of Scripture. So God CANNOT Render eternal life or death according to each man’s Deeds, Rom2:7-8, (and all the Prophets affirm!) BUT Chooses whom He wills to be saved and the others damned.
Again, this is Pure 100% Augustinian Hogwash. Blended into Christianity in Fourth Century Rome and handed down to us by the Reformers. Under this System man is Born as a Lump of Sin, morally inept and unable to choose the Right way. (YET all the early Fathers said the VERY opposite!) If he is to be Saved according to this teaching, its by election while still in sin. So Repentance is null and void, or a mere confession, or agreement with God that you are born a sinner. No Clearing, Zeal, Diligence, Conviction, godly sorrow for sin or Vindication! 2Cor7:10-11
God’s Will is then ‘Irresistible’ as His Nature is ‘Immutable’. No Matter what the Bible Cleary reveals, it can be twisted to say otherwise. Only the Elect will be finally Saved and NOT according to anything they Do or Don’t do. Christ Died for the Elect, NOT the Entire World (as Scripture says 2Pet3:9) and No One can question His Wisdom or ask Why.
Here’s a Brief Exert of Augustine’s teaching of Grace:
Quote: This however is certain: our will is in vain, if God doesn´t have mercy on us. But I don´t know how one could say: in vain God has mercy, if we aren´t willing. Because if God has mercy, we are willing. It´s part of God´s mercy that we are willing, for it is God who works in us to will and to do according to his good will. If we ask whether the good will is a gift of God or not, it would be surprising if somebody would dare to negate that. But because the good will doesn't precede the calling, but the calling the good will, therefore it is right to attribute our good will to God who calls us, but it can´t be attributed to us that we are called. The sentence : “it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy” is not to be interpreted as to mean that without God´s help we cannot achieve what we want, but rather that without his call we don´t have the will.
All men are – because, as the Apostle says: “in Adam all die”, from whom as the origin the offence of God spread to all humanity – one lump of sin who deserves to be punished by the highest divine justice. The punishment being executed or being remitted, both is no injustice.
But if anyone is troubled by the fact that nobody resists his will – because he helps whom he wills and he deserts whom he wills – and that the one whom he helps and the one whom he deserts belongs to the same lump of sin, and that, even though both deserve punishment, it´s executed on the one and remitted to the other – if anyone is troubled by that: “O man, who are you to talk back against God?”
How was Augustine, one man, able to pass this off as Christian teaching in his day when it directly contradicts the Bible and all the early Saints, some still living into the forth century who opposed him. WHY wasn’t he exposed as a false teacher with his cohorts and banished from the church and set down in history as the greatest heretic of all time? Could it be that the powers of darkness at work in ancient Rome, as the first Beast, prevailed against the truth by casting out the opposition ... MOST certainly this is the case! Opponents to Augustine's teaching were excommunicated by high Council and branded as heretics over the next 1000 odd years.
In this was the rise of the 'Man of Sin, 2Thess2:2-11, mystery of lawlessness that would spread its evil influence over the establishment Church up through the 1500's and beyond. Augustine was but a Vessel FIT for his 'Master's use, (the devil!) to usher in the Strong Delusion that has swept through Christianity like a whirlwind. He set the stage for the introduction of every fallacy invented in the mind's of men from then to now. His legacy produced the brutal wars, persecutions, inquisitions and mass ignorance that lead into the Dark ages, medieval times and finally the so-called Reformation when the Second Beast of Protestantism appeared and took up his cause to exploit the Bible and teach that all men were born in sin, wholly depraved and lacking free will. Augustinian Doctrine remains the bedrock of establishment Christianity to this day. It has certainly been re-molded and toned down by many degrees, but the Core teaching remains, attacking man's free will ability to seek out God in repentance and Produce Deeds Worthy of Repentance.
The historical evidence against Augustine is Overwhelming and his doctrines are absurd when compared to Scripture, unless you're blinded by the same lies. His teachings are the VERY SOURCE of the lawlessness and apostasy in our modern day churches and millions are destine to perish in their sins unless an all out effort is launched to expose the Satanic excuse of human inability.