Reader's Guide to Schleiermacher's Christian Faith

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Second Part of the System of Doctrine: Explication of the Facts of the Religious Self-Consciousness, as they are determined by the Antithesis of Sin and Grace

First Aspect of the Antithesis: Explication of the Consciousness of Sin

First Section: Sin as a State of Man


66 We have the consciousness of sin whenever the God-consciousness which forms part of an inner state, or is in some way added to it, determines our self-consciousness as pain; and therefore we conceive of sin as a possible antagonism of the flesh against the spirit.

67 We are conscious of sin as the power and work of a time when the disposition to the God-consciousness had not yet actively emerged in us.

68 Although sin, as a result of the unequal development of insight and will-power, can be conceived in such a way that its existence does not invalidate the idea of the original perfection of man, still we are bound to regard it as a derangement of our nature.

69 We are conscious of sin partly as having its source in ourselves, partly as having its source outside our own being.

First Doctrine: Original Sin

70 The sinfulness that is present in an individual prior to any action of his own, and has its ground outside his own being, is in every case a complete incapacity for good, which can be removed only by the influence of Redemption.

71 Original sin, however, is at the same time so really the personal guilt of every individual who shares in it that it is best represented as the corporate act and the corporate guilt of the human race, and that the recognition of it as such is likewise recognition of the universal need of redemption.

72 While the idea that we have thus developed cannot be applied in precisely the same way to the first human pair, we have no reason for explaining universal sinfulness as due to an alteration in human nature brought about in their person by the first sin.

Second Doctrine: Actual Sin

73 In all men, original sin is always issuing in actual sin.

74 There is no difference of worth between men in regard to sin, apart from the fact that it does not in all stand in the same relationship to redemption.

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