Arminius on why we sin

, posted by drwayman

this post was written by SEA member, Roy Ingle

I was reading from the Works of Arminius and noticed a short note he wrote on why we sin. Arminius wrote,

“The efficient cause of actual sins is, man through his own free will. The inwardly working cause is the original propensity of our nature towards that which is contrary to the divine law, which propensity we have contracted from our first parents, through carnal generation. The outwardly working causes are the objects and occasions which solicit men to sin. The substance or material cause, is an act which, according to its nature, has reference to good. The form or formal cause of it is a transgression of the law, or an anomy. It is destitute of an end; because sin is amartia a transgression which wanders from its aim. The object of it is a variable good; to which, when man is inclined, after having deserted the unchangeable good, he commits an offense.

The effect of actual sins are all the calamities and miseries of the present life, then death temporal, and afterwards death eternal. But in those who are hardened and blinded, even the effects of preceding sins become consequent sins themselves.”

Notice that Arminius is clear that he gives no reference to God causing us to sin. We sin because we have a sinful nature and because we want to sin by our own free will which is itself enslaved to sin apart from grace.

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