Müller’s Christian Doctrine Of Sin -- By: Edward Robie

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 006:22 (May 1849)
Article: Müller’s Christian Doctrine Of Sin
Author: Edward Robie

Müller’s Christian Doctrine Of Sin

Edward Robie

[In the August Number of the Bibliotheca Sacra, 1848, we gave a brief abstract of the first book of Müller’s Christliche Lehre von der Sünde, on the Nature and Guilt of Sin. The following Article is an outline of the remaining part of the work. It will be seen that the author unhesitatingly admits the generally received doctrine of the native depravity of man; but the view, which this doctrine leads him to take of the origin of sin, will probably be dissented from. Neither is it generally received by the theologians of his own country.

It is an interesting and encouraging fact, that the attention of the theological world is now directed more particularly to Theology than to Anthropology; but the deeper and clearer our views are of sin, so much the truer and more comprehensive will be our view of Redemption.—E. R.]

§ 3. The Origin Of Sin

In order that man may be accounted guilty for the sin which is in him, it is necessary that he be its author. Most of the theories which have been given for the explanation of sin do, in fact, destroy its guilt, and thus deny its reality, inasmuch as they make it to be the necessary result of influences for which man is not responsible. To maintain the reality of sin, it will be necessary to point out in the sinner a principle of such power and independency, that it can originate actions for which it alone is responsible, and thereby place a limit beyond which the origin of sin is absolutely not to be sought. Such a principle is the human will. Generally man is conscious of necessity only when the determining power is an external one. Only when he strikes upon obstacles, and finds himself hindered in the prosecution of his effort, does he feel the power of necessity over him. He is aware of necessity only so far as it is constraint. It needs, however, but a little observation of the phenomena of human life to be convinced that besides this external necessity, which limits the sphere of human action, there is also an inner necessity arising from the agent himself, and determining the course of his action. The soul of man is not originally tabula rasa, but it is rather to be regarded as a closed book; it contains, in itself, a multitude of tendencies, and these are not the same in all, but are different and peculiar in the sexes, races, nations and individuals. It is an inner necessity, with which already in the plays of children the opposition of sex and the peculiarity of the individual is revealed. If the youth embraces a calling for life, he is to be regarded as happy, if he was not led to it by a calculation and comparison of consequences, but by the certainty of a higher instinct, by an undoubting cons...

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