How to Use This Course
This advanced class challenges students to go deeper into Scripture while examining Jonathan Edwards’ classic work The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended. Through twenty-four units, Dr. Biehl examines the arguments raised in the book and poses numerous questions and points for discussion. The class concludes with a comprehensive written assignment.
What is original sin? Is man really born sinful, and if so, why? Is God fair to judge man for sin when he was born without the ability to be righteous before Him? These are a few of the questions answered by Jonathan Edwards in his classic treatise, The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended. Though written in response to Dr. John Taylor’s arguments against the doctrine, Edwards’ classic was primarily written “as a general defense of that great important doctrine.” A proper understanding of original sin is fundamental to the Christian faith, as Edwards wrote:
I look on the doctrine as of great importance; which every body will doubtless own it is, if it be true. For, if the case be such indeed, that all mankind are by nature in a state of total ruin, both with respect to the moral evil of which they are the subjects, and the afflictive evil to which they are exposed, the one as the consequence and punishment of the other; then doubtless, the great salvation by CHRIST stands in direct relation to the ruin, and as the remedy to the disease; and the whole gospel, or doctrine of salvation, must suppose it; and all real belief, or true notion of that gospel, must be built upon it (Works, I:145).
Therefore, a proper understanding of the Gospel itself depends upon a proper understanding of the doctrine of original sin. With that in mind, and the Scriptures as our ultimate authority, we will examine Edwards’ arguments concerning original sin with the goal of a better understanding of man’s utter ruin before a holy God, and the greatness of God’s mercy and grace in our salvation through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Download a complete course syllabus including course objectives, text, and requirements.
Part One: Evidence of Original Sin
- Chapter One: Evidence of Original Sin from the Sinfulness of Mankind in General
- Chapter Two: Universal Mortality, Particularly the Death of Infants, Proves Original Sin
Part Two: Scriptural Proofs for Original Sin
- Chapter One: Observations from Genesis 1-3
- Chapter Two: Proofs of Original Sin, Primarily from the Old Testament
- Chapter Three: Proofs of Original Sin, Primarily from the New Testament
- Chapter Four: Romans 5:12
Part Three: The Redemption of Christ as Evidence for Original Sin
- Chapter One: Proofs from Christ’s Accomplishment of Redemption
- Chapter Two: Proof from the Necessity of Being Born Again
Part Four: Answers to Objections to Original Sin
- Chapter One: “To be born in sin is inconsistent with the nature of sin.”
- Chapter Two: “If man is born sinful, then God, who formed us, is to blame
- Chapter Three: “The imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity is unjust because Adam
- Chapter Four: Miscellaneous Objections
If this course is taken in full, completing all reading and writing assignments, the course is worth a minimum of .5 credit. If the student explores this course in depth and spends approximately 180 hours completing this course (two hours per day for eighteen weeks or one hour per day for thirty-six weeks), it will count for one high school credit.