The Perfection Of Human Righteousness Essay

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Augustine, in his work The Perfection of Human Righteousness, combatted the heresy of Pelagianism as described by Caelestius in his treatise, The Definitions Attributed to Caelestius. Following Pelagius, Caelestius by logic and Scripture argued that the Fall did not destroy man’s natural capability to do right. Caelestius argued that God made us free to do the good and thus we all have the power not to sin, and that both the devil and Adam’s original sin are unable to destroy this power. As proof Caelestius gave examples of Old Testament saints who he claimed lived holy lives. Augustine refutes Caelestius’ ideas by using Scripture to show that we are righteous only by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. He showed that Caelestius is unable to explain many texts that speak of the sinfulness of all humans.
Caelestius challenges the idea that the fall resulted in our nature being corrupted so that it is unable to do
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He cites Ephesians 2:3 which states, we are now born deserving God’s anger, with an injured nature so that our will is unable to keep us from sin except for the grace of God. Our defective state is punishment because of Adam’s free choice that made humans sinful. Therefore, we are either unable to will or unable to know how to do the right any more. Augustine argues that we are no longer free to choose right and wrong, because we are slaves to sin. Freedom can only be re-attained through God, through Whom, by grace, we shall be free indeed. Moreover, Augustine argues, since it is “God who made human beings good, it is God, not human beings, who restores human beings so that they are good. He sets them free from the evil that they have brought upon themselves, if they will it, believe, and call upon him.” Since we have by our own will brought upon ourselves sin; we cannot be healed from our sin without the grace of
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