Henri Blocher on Original Sin

French Reformed Theologian, Henri Blocher, has an interesting take on “original sin”.  Blocher contends that we undergo the fact of death in solidarity with Adam like children who share in the sin of their father. Yet we do not undergo the penalty of Adam as if it were ours. Rather, by sharing in his consequences – in the spread of his corruption and death – our sinning certainly happens and our guilt can be reckoned as originating with Adam. Hence his paraphrase of Rom 5:12: “Just as through one man, Adam, sin entered the world and the sin-death connection was established, and so death could be inflicted on all as the penalty of their sins.”

Is that a sufficient take on original sin?

  • Rick

    Isn’t this similar to the view of Eastern Orthodoxy?

  • Rick

    Isn’t this similar to the view of Eastern Orthodoxy?

  • Austin

    It depends on your anthropology. If, like some, you believe that humans are a person prior to our socialization, then it is completely inadequate. But if you believe that it is through our socialization that we have personhood (which seems to me to be the Biblical view), then it makes complete sense.

    • Beth

      Wondering if we recognise in utero socialisation? Certainly for a bearer of children, in utero socialisation is tangible, in which case one might hold together your biblical view that personhood is ontologically defined through socialization, with the affirmation that there is no pre-personhood/ pre-socialisation stage possible for human life.

  • Austin

    It depends on your anthropology. If, like some, you believe that humans are a person prior to our socialization, then it is completely inadequate. But if you believe that it is through our socialization that we have personhood (which seems to me to be the Biblical view), then it makes complete sense.

    • Beth

      Wondering if we recognise in utero socialisation? Certainly for a bearer of children, in utero socialisation is tangible, in which case one might hold together your biblical view that personhood is ontologically defined through socialization, with the affirmation that there is no pre-personhood/ pre-socialisation stage possible for human life.

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  • Sean

    I like it.

  • Sean

    I like it.

  • David A Booth

    Blocher is a fine theologian, but I don’t think his paraphrase quite works:

    1. It doesn’t seem to do justice to “many died through one man’s trespass” in verse 15 nor “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” in verse 18. These seem to fit better with the idea that we do suffer the penalty of Adam’s sin as though it were our own.
    2. It also doesn’t seem to maintain the parallelism to Christ’s “one act of righteousness (leading) to justification and life for all men” as well as understanding that we do suffer the penalty of Adam’s sin as though it were our own (unless Christ suffers that penalty in our place!).
    3. I don’t have Blocher in front of me, but I’d be curious to know how he explains the death of children in their mother’s wombs on this reading.

    Best wishes,

    David

  • David A Booth

    Blocher is a fine theologian, but I don’t think his paraphrase quite works:

    1. It doesn’t seem to do justice to “many died through one man’s trespass” in verse 15 nor “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” in verse 18. These seem to fit better with the idea that we do suffer the penalty of Adam’s sin as though it were our own.
    2. It also doesn’t seem to maintain the parallelism to Christ’s “one act of righteousness (leading) to justification and life for all men” as well as understanding that we do suffer the penalty of Adam’s sin as though it were our own (unless Christ suffers that penalty in our place!).
    3. I don’t have Blocher in front of me, but I’d be curious to know how he explains the death of children in their mother’s wombs on this reading.

    Best wishes,

    David


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