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Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309386.001.0001

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Original Sin, Grace, and Salvation

Original Sin, Grace, and Salvation

(p.240) (p.241) 14 Original Sin, Grace, and Salvation

Sandra Visser

Thomas Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers original sin—the injustice that, according to Anselm, is justly transmitted to all human beings who come to exist naturally from Adam—and the grace that eliminates injustice and fits human beings for salvation. Anselm argues that because of the fall of Adam and Eve, all human beings, from the moment they have a rational soul and thus a will, lack the justice that they ought to have. Sin is, by definition, the lack of justice that one ought to have, so this deficiency in postlapsarian human beings is sin. The initial gift of rectitude is from God, an unmerited gift of grace. Since free choice is the power to preserve this rectitude of will for its own sake, Anselm's resolution of the problem of grace and free choice is that one obtains rectitude of will by grace, and one preserves it by free choice.

Keywords:   original sin, salvation, grace, De conceptu virginali, infant sinfulness, free choice

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