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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 11

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 11 [VIII.]—His Fifth Error. (See Above in Book I. 8 [VIII.] and Book II. 12 [VIII.].)

Neither believe, nor say, nor teach, if you wish to be a catholic, that “the soul deserved to be sinful before any sin.” It is, to be sure, an extremely bad desert to have deserved to be sinful. And, of course, it could not possibly have incurred so bad a desert previous to any sin, especially prior to its coming into the flesh, when it could have possessed no merit either way, either evil or good. How, then, can you say: “If, therefore, the soul, which could not be sinful, deserved to be sinful, it yet did not remain in sin, because as it was prefigured in Christ it was bound not to be in a sinful state, even as it was unable to be”? Now, just for a little consider what it is you say, and desist from repeating such a statement. How did the soul deserve, and how was it unable, to be sinful? How, I pray you tell me, did that deserve to be sinful which never lived sinfully? How, I ask again, was that made sinful which was not able to be sinful? Or else, if you mean your phrase, “was unable,” to imply inability apart from the flesh, how in that case did the soul deserve to be sinful, and by reason of what desert was it sent into the flesh, when previous to its union p. 348 with the flesh it was not able to be sinful, so as to deserve any evil at all?

Next: Chapter 12