Here are some approximate quotes from John Hannah’s lecture on Jonathan Edwards’ 1757 work The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended. The technical term for the doctrine of sin is “hamartiology,” from the Greek word hamartia). If there’s one doctrine that we instinctively revile or at least ignore, it’s this one. It devastates our perceived warrants for pride. Though several statements below are very theological and nuanced, I include them for this reason. It is easy to go for long periods of time without thinking deeply about the depths of sin. You may disagree with Hannah’s final hamartiological formulations, but there’s no escaping the biblical indictment of our extreme, suffocating, personal and corporate depravity. The only escape is the cross.
America’s view of human morality: Basically, we all have a good moral compass, and if we follow it, we’ll be fine. This is America to the core.
Hamartiology’s three issues: When discussing the doctrine of sin, you have three things to discuss: (1) corruption of nature, (2) corruption of action, and (3) guilt. And the real question is, “Which comes first? Which causes the others?” That’s the whole question of anthropology.
Condemned in the sin of Adam: I’m going to die on the hill of non-participational condemnation because I will die on the hill of non-participational atonement [see Romans 5:12-21]. A weak view of sin always leads to a weak view of what Christ had to do to accomplish its cure. A high view of sin places all the burden on Christ. You may have a bad problem, but we have a wonderful solution. That’s what we’re preaching. We’re not preaching self-help.
Sin and guilt: Are you guilty because you sin or do you sin because you’re guilty? Which comes first? You were born guilty, according to Scripture. And the proof of that guilt is your acts of sin.
Biblical order of human sinfulness: The correct order is: (1) guilt, (2) corrupt nature, (3) sinful actions. How does guilt come before a corrupt nature? Because we’re birthed with guilt because of Adam. I can’t put guilt after sins, because I’m not guilty because I sinned. I was guilty in Adam.
Just condemnation: It is not the depth of evil that condemns us, but the fact of it. Even .001% evil is enough to bring us infinite condemnation before an infinite God. I could argue that even someone who is very good is eternally condemned because of their sin.
Dead in sin: Death is real. I know a homiletics professor who takes his first class to a cemetery. He picks out a grave and tells one of the students to go and tell the person to live. Finally one goes over and kind of whispers some things, embarrassed. Then he says, “Men, you’re preaching to dead people.”
Death: I have concluded that death is so traumatic that it disables people from hearing.
Part 1 – Monday’s quotes
Part 2 – Tuesday’s quotes
Part 3 – Wednesday’s quotes
Part 4 – Thursday’s quotes
Part 5 – Friday’s quotes
Part 6 – Saturday’s quotes
Part 7 – Quotes from biographical lectures (1)
Part 8 – Quotes from biographical lectures (2)
Part 9 – Quotes from lectures on Edwards’ early writings
Part 10 – Quotes from lecture on Religious Affections
Part 11 – Quotes from lecture on Edwards’ Trinitarianism
Part 12 – Quotes from lectures on Edwards’ preaching and Grace
Part 13 – Quotes from lecture on Charity and Its Fruits
Part 14 – Quotes from lectures on Redemption, Communion Controversy, and Brainerd