Developments in Christian Thought

  • Created by: CatV
  • Created on: 15-05-19 16:58

Text Box: Summary Augustine - Manichean, good vs. evil Human appetites are sinful The Fall: Genesis 2-3 Cupiditas and Caritas Original Sin Grace Thomas Hobbes- Humanity is fundamentally selfish Rousseau- People are good and only act otherwise when the situation needs it Locke – ‘tabula rasa’ Sartre – We are free to create our natures Dawkins – Original Sin is dangerous Niebuhr- All Leaders are ignorant if morality and reason is enough to bring about society Freud – Original Sin is a sexual neurosis idea that passes over culture, personality is culture bound not chosen. Augustine’s Teaching On Human Nature



















Key Terms

The Fall - Biblical event, disobeying God’s command, humanity’s imperfect state
Grace – God’s free and undeserved love for humanity, epitome of JC’s sacrifice
Redemption - our salvation from sin through Christ’s sacrifice
Concordia – Ideal human friendship, the state lived in at first by Adam and Eve 
Sin – Disobeying the will and commands of God
Will – Part of human nature that makes free choice
Cupiditas – ‘Selfish love’ and the coveting of worldly things
Caritas – Generous love, agape
Concupiscence – Uncontrolled desire for physical pleasures
Ecclesia – Heavenly society, contrasting to and aim of human society

Free and Moral Choice-As humans we have the potential to be obedient but also the potential to disobey.


St Augustine

Influenced by Plato’s ideas of human appetite as sinful and by Manichean ideas of a dualist battle between good and evil. Rejected Manichaeism on belief that it is necessary to have God’s grace as the reason for salvation not just own reasoning ability.



·     The temptation of Eve led to the formation of the patriarchy within the church, providing and ‘excuse’ in that women were weaker and inclined to lead men into wrongdoing. [Gender]

·     It is the Church’s responsibility to help people to find greater peace, that without God is impossible. This is central to the Church’s need to be involved in all matters of society. [Religious Pluralism and Secularism]


Maximillian Kolbe
Catholic priest imprisoned in concentration camp, died in sacrifice for another man. Serves as an example of the human potential for incredible acts of goodness, supports idea of humans as good rather than inherently sinful.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Argued humans are inherently generous and only act badly when circumstances cause them to do so. “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”


We are essentially creative beings, this creativity adapts to the situation we are placed in and so people will have different natures


Thomas Hobbes
Opposes Rousseau, human nature is selfish and brutish. Only different to animals is reason allowing the identification that cooperation makes like more tolerable. The purpose of life is to conquer the brutish side and create fair and just societies. 



As a contemporary of Augustine, he believed humans use free will to choose God, this action is a choice to bring the reward, and Augustine felt this downplayed the importance of Grace and Christ’s sacrifice. Pelagius saw grace as the natural human faculty given by God.


Original Human Nature
Adam and Eve created in image of God, for Augustine this meant both had rationality and free choice as well as a sense of morality, makes the Sin even more abhorrent as was done with complete ethical awareness. 

The Fall – Genesis 2-6

·     The Fall from perfection, through free choice ruining humanity forever, punishments of painful childbirth, shame and the need


Maia Moen


In my opinion, there are some developments in Christian thought that are not good because they have led to new problems for Christians. One example of this is the development known as process theology. I joined these gap year discipleship programs for my studies. This view of God as an evolving being has led some Christians to question whether or not God exists at all or if God is a person like us who develops over time.

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