The Arbitrariness of the Primal Sin

In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 234-257 (2013)

Kevin Timpe
Calvin College
Considerations of the primal sin show that both voluntarist and intellectual accounts involve an unresolved arbitrariness at the heart of their accounts of free agency. This suggests that, at least for theists, intellectualism is no better than voluntarism in this respect and that, on the assumption that such a sin happened, voluntarist accounts are not as problematic as many believe them to be. The paper proceeds as follows. In the first section, I explain what is meant by 'primal sin' and why there is reason to look at this sin in particular. I then compare this paradigm sin from voluntarism and intellectualist approaches. More specifically, I approach the issue of primal sin by looking at the two most developed extant accounts of it in the contemporary literature. Both accounts are libertarian accounts insofar as they suppose that the truth of theological determinism would render the devil unfree, and thus not responsible, in his fall. Furthermore, both accounts are inspired by medieval theologians, though they aim to provide satisfactory philosophical accounts of the primal sin and not be mere historical exegesis. Given that historical interpretation is not my goal here, I will let the two contemporary proponents of the views under consideration to speak for themselves, taken their exegesis as accurate for present purposes.
Keywords Primal Sin  Philosophy  Arbitrary
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Philosophy and Christian Theology.Michael Murray - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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