From this link, it is said that a newly born baby in relation to sin enumerated by Augustine of Hippo is [not able not to sin] (non posse non peccare).

What I thought from that [not able no to sin] sentence is :

  • X. a newly born baby doesn't have an ability to choose the right thing completely. So, the next time if this baby still live and grown up (say, his/her age from 5 to 20) - this person will NEVER be able to obey his/her parents as it's been told "Honor your father and your mother" from one of the 10 Commandments. In other words, there is not even one at a time where this person obey his/her parents. Because if there is - then that means this person is able not to sin.

But my Catholic friend say that X is not correct. He said the correct one is :

  • Y. [not able not to sin] means something like an inclination. After the baby grown up, he/she will be more inclined to disobey the parents then to obey. So, the frequency she/he disobeyed the parents is much more than she/he obeyed the parents

My friend told me, that's what Catholic point of view from Augustine's [not able not to sin] teaching.

I don't understand how come the correct one is like that. Because to me, if it is the correct one - then logically this person still has the ability not to sin. This person still can choose between to obey -or- not to obey the parents. And obeying the parents, fulfilled that one of the 10 Commandments.

That's why I'm asking here, what does it really mean [not able not to sin] according to Augustine himself actually ? X or Y ?

  • Keep in mind that Augustine's views on free will changed over his lifetime. He took a stance that verged on Calvinism when he wrote his writings against Pelagius, but they mellowed over time - to the extent that later in life he recanted some of his earlier writings. – guest37 Apr 24 '17 at 17:32
  • Check out the book The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church, by the American Orthodox monk, Seraphim Rose. It's not exactly impartial, but Chapters 2-4 discuss how some of Augustine's views on free will developed and changed over the course of his life. – guest37 Apr 24 '17 at 20:09

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