1st Edition

Forsaking the Fall Original Sin and the Possibility of a Nonlapsarian Christianity

By Daniel H. Spencer Copyright 2023

    Forsaking the Fall argues along exegetical, theological, and philosophical lines that the doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin need not be understood as integral components of orthodox Christianity.

    By engaging biblical studies, systematic theology, and analytic philosophy, the book provides a comprehensive understanding of the most important issues at play in the Original Sin debate, as well as offers a set of tools for helping readers to think critically about the essence of the Christian faith and its relation to Original Sin. Crucially, it lays the theoretical groundwork for an orthodox nonlapsarianism and advances a novel theory vis-à-vis the Fall and Original Sin in Christian theology.

    This innovative and provocative book will be of interest to scholars of theology and philosophy, specifically analytic theologians and philosophers of religion.

    Preface and Acknowledgements


    PART I
    The Fall and Original Sin in Scripture and Tradition

    1 Original Sin: A Historical and Theological Retrieval

    2 Genesis 2–3 and the ‘Fall of Man’

    3 Romans 5:12–21: Adam or Christ?

    Orthodoxy without Original Sin?

    4 Sin: The Biblical Understanding

    5 Concerning a Nonlapsarian Theodicy: Whence Sin?

    6 Salvation: Means and End

    7 On Orthodoxy

    8 Conclusion




    Daniel H. Spencer received his PhD from the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, UK. He is a minister in the Church of Scotland, having served most recently at Menzieshill Parish Church, Dundee.

    'This bold new monograph invites us on an extended thought experiment: imagine we removed Original Sin and the Fall from Christian theology. Would the result still be recognisably Christian theology? This fascinating work will make its readers rethink the prospects for what Spencer calls a "non-lapsarian" theology.' Oliver Crisp, Principal of St Mary’s College and Head of the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews, UK

    'Completely at home in the world of scripture, patristics, modern theology, and analytic philosophy, Spencer draws on materials and authors from an astoundingly wide range of genres and eras. He has constructed a formidable argument I hope both academic and ecclesiastical theologians will grapple with earnestly.' Ron Highfield, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University, USA

    'Forsaking the Fall is a rigorous, clear-headed and paradigm-shifting analysis of whether the doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin are essential to Christian faith. The depth and range of its engagement with biblical scholarship, the church fathers, Aquinas and contemporary theology are unmatched by any other modern study of this key question. Simply outstanding!' Alan J. Torrance, Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology, University of St Andrews, UK