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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Origen says Where is the man of good sense


the doctrine of original sin was generally believed by the Pagans.

We stated, at the commencement of this chapter, that the Roman Catholic writers are unanimous in the opinion that it was the belief of a large number of Pagans, that man had fallen from a higher state of existence. However, a small number only of the same writers are of the opinion that the Jews believed in the doctrine of original sin; and they find no other proof of the assertion than the ceremony of circumcision, which, as is familiar to all, was a mere legal and national observance, and had not the virtue of remitting sin. In the first centuries of the Christian era, baptism was considered as a mere ceremony for initiating catechumens to the Christian profession.

It was only towards the end of the third century, that the belief of the transmission of Adam's sin to all his descendants was introduced in the Church of Rome, which already considered herself the mistress of the other churches. Soon afterwards the dogma that baptism had the virtue of remitting original sin was established. As proof of these two facts, we have the testimony of more than twenty-three Christian sects of the first centuries, which did not admit the dogma of original sin; and did not believe that baptism had the virtue of remitting sin. We quote a few of those sects: the Simonians, the Nicolaites, the Valentinians, the Basilidians, the Carpocratians, the Ophites, the

Sethians, the Pelagians, all the Gnostic sects, etc.

Therefore, the Church of Rome borrowed the dogma of original sin from the Pagans. To this many Roman Catholic writers say: true the Pagans held this doctrine, but we did not borrow it from them; we found it in the first chapters of Genesis. We rejoin that even the fathers of the fourth century did not understand those chapters literally, and thereby as teaching the dogma of original sin. St. Augustine, in his work, City of God, avers that it was a general opinion among Christians, that the first three chapters of Genesis are allegorical, and that he himself is inclined to think so. He confesses that it is impossible to take them literally without hurting piety, and ascribing to God unworthy actions. Origen says: "Where is the man of good sense, who can ever believe that there have been a first, a second, and a third days, and that those days had each an evening and morning, though there were not yet neither sun, nor moon, nor stars? Where is the man credulous enough to believe, that God was working like a gardener, and that he planted a garden in Orient; that the tree of life was a real tree, whose fruit would preserve life?"

Origen compared the temptation of Adam to that of the birth of Love, whose father was Porus, or Abundance, and whose mother was Poverty. He adds that there are in the Old Testament facts, which, if understood literally, are absurd, and which, if understood allegorically, contain valuable truths. We refer the reader for the above to the following works: See St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, liber xi, cap. 6, et liber 2, cap. xi, No. 24.--De Genesi ad Litteram, liber 4, No. 44.--De Catechis Rudibus, cap. 13. The opinion of St. Athanase can be found in his Oratio Contra Arium, No. 60.--That of Origen, in his work De Principiis, liber iv, No. 16, contra Celsum, liber 6, No. 50, 51. That of St. Ambrosius, in his Hexam, liber one, cap. 7, et Sequentia. That of Theodoret, in his Quest. in Genes. interpr. cap. v. et Sequentia, and that of St. Gregory in his Moral, in Job, liber 32, cap. 9.

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