I. Born Again in Water Baptism
John 1:32 – when Jesus was baptized, He was baptized in the water and the Spirit, which descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The Holy Spirit and water are required for baptism. Also, Jesus’ baptism was not the Christian baptism He later instituted. Jesus’ baptism was instead a royal anointing of the Son of David (Jesus) conferred by a Levite (John the Baptist) to reveal Christ to Israel, as it was foreshadowed in 1 Kings 1:39 when the Son of David (Solomon) was anointed by the Levitical priest Zadok. See John 1:31; cf. Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21.
John 3:3,5 – Jesus says, “Truly, truly, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” When Jesus said “water and the Spirit,” He was referring to baptism (which requires the use of water, and the work of the Spirit).
John 3:22 – after teaching on baptism, John says Jesus and the disciples did what? They went into Judea where the disciples baptized. Jesus’ teaching about being reborn by water and the Spirit is in the context of baptism.
John 4:1 – here is another reference to baptism which naturally flows from Jesus’ baptismal teaching in John 3:3-5.
Acts 8:36 – the eunuch recognizes the necessity of water for his baptism. Water and baptism are never separated in the Scriptures.
Acts 10:47 – Peter says “can anyone forbid water for baptizing these people..?” The Bible always links water and baptism.
Acts 22:16 – Ananias tells Saul, “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins.” The “washing away” refers to water baptism.
Titus 3:5-6 – Paul writes about the “washing of regeneration,” which is “poured out on us” in reference to water baptism. “Washing” (loutron) generally refers to a ritual washing with water.
Heb. 10:22 – the author is also writing about water baptism in this verse. “Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Our bodies are washed with pure water in water baptism.
2 Kings 5:14 – Naaman dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, and his flesh was restored like that of a child. This foreshadows the regenerative function of baptism, by water and the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 44:3 – the Lord pours out His water and His Spirit. Water and the Spirit are linked to baptism. The Bible never separates them.
Ezek. 36:25-27 – the Lord promises He will sprinkle us with water to cleanse us from sin and give us a new heart and spirit. Paul refers to this verse in Heb. 10:22. The teaching of Ezekiel foreshadows the salvific nature of Christian baptism instituted by Jesus and taught in John 3:5, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 3:21 and Acts 22:16.
II. Baptism is Salvific, Not Just Symbolic
Matt. 28:19-20 – Jesus commands the apostles to baptize all people “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Many Protestant churches are now teaching that baptism is only a symbolic ritual, and not what actually cleanses us from original sin. This belief contradicts Scripture and the 2,000 year-old teaching of the Church.
Acts 2:38 – Peter commands them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in order to be actually forgiven of sin, not just to partake of a symbolic ritual.
Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 – there is nothing in these passages or elsewhere in the Bible about baptism being symbolic. There is also nothing about just accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior in order to be saved.
Mark 16:16 – Jesus said “He who believes AND is baptized will be saved.” Jesus says believing is not enough. Baptism is also required. This is because baptism is salvific, not just symbolic. The Greek text also does not mandate any specific order for belief and baptism, so the verse proves nothing about a “believer’s baptism.”
John 3:3,5 – unless we are “born again” of water and Spirit in baptism, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The Greek word for the phrase “born again” is “anothen” which literally means “begotten from above.” See, for example, John 3:31 where “anothen” is so used. Baptism brings about salvation, not just a symbolism of our salvation.
Acts 8:12-13; 36; 10:47 – if belief is all one needs to be saved, why is everyone instantly baptized after learning of Jesus?
Acts 16:15; 31-33; 18:8; 19:2,5 – these texts present more examples of people learning of Jesus, and then immediately being baptized. If accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior is all one needs to do to be saved, then why does everyone in the early Church immediately seek baptism?
Acts 9:18 – Paul, even though he was directly chosen by Christ and immediately converted to Christianity, still had to be baptized to be forgiven his sin. This is a powerful text which demonstrates the salvific efficacy of water baptism, even for those who decide to give their lives to Christ.
Acts 22:16 – Ananias tells Paul, “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins,” even though Paul was converted directly by Jesus Christ. This proves that Paul’s acceptance of Jesus as personal Lord and Savior was not enough to be forgiven of his sin and saved. The sacrament of baptism is required.
Acts 22:16 – further, Ananias’ phrase “wash away” comes from the Greek word “apolouo.” “Apolouo” means an actual cleansing which removes sin. It is not a symbolic covering up of sin. Even though Jesus chose Paul directly in a heavenly revelation, Paul had to be baptized to have his sins washed away.
Rom. 6:4 – in baptism, we actually die with Christ so that we, like Him, might be raised to newness of life. This means that, by virtue of our baptism, our sufferings are not in vain. They are joined to Christ and become efficacious for our salvation.
1 Cor. 6:11 – Paul says they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, in reference to baptism. The “washing” of baptism gives birth to sanctification and justification, which proves baptism is not just symbolic.
Gal. 3:27 – whoever is baptized in Christ puts on Christ. Putting on Christ is not just symbolic. Christ actually dwells within our soul.
Col. 2:12 – in baptism, we literally die with Christ and are raised with Christ. It is a supernatural reality, not just a symbolic ritual. The Scriptures never refer to baptism as symbolic.
Titus 3:5-7 – “He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs of eternal life.” This is a powerful text which proves that baptism regenerates our souls and is thus salvific. The “washing of regeneration” “saves us.” Regeneration is never symbolic, and the phrase “saved us” refers to salvation. By baptism, we become justified by His grace (interior change) and heirs of eternal life (filial adoption). Because this refers to baptism, the verse is about the beginning of the life in Christ. No righteous deeds done before baptism could save us. Righteous deeds after baptism are necessary for our salvation.
There is also a definite parallel between John 3:5 and Titus 3:5: (1) John 3:5 – enter the kingdom of God / Titus 3:5 – He saved us. (2) John 3:5 – born of water / Titus 3:5 – washing. (3) John 3:5 – born of the Spirit / Titus 3:5 – renewal in the Spirit.
Heb. 10:22 – in baptism, our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience (again, dealing with the interior of the person) as our bodies are washed with pure water (the waters of baptism). Baptism regenerates us because it removes original sin, sanctifies our souls, and effects our adoption as sons and daughters in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:21 – Peter expressly writes that “baptism, corresponding to Noah’s ark, now saves you; not as a removal of dirt from the body, but for a clear conscience. “ Hence, the verse demonstrates that baptism is salvific (it saves us), and deals with the interior life of the person (purifying the conscience, like Heb. 10:22), and not the external life (removing dirt from the body). Many scholars believe the phrase “not as a removal of dirt from the body” is in reference to the Jewish ceremony of circumcision (but, at a minimum, shows that baptism is not about the exterior, but interior life). Baptism is now the “circumcision” of the new Covenant (Col. 2:11-12), but it, unlike the old circumcision, actually saves us, as Noah and his family were saved by water.
Again, notice the parallel between Heb. 10:22 and 1 Peter 3:21: (1) Heb. 10:22 – draw near to the sanctuary (heaven) / 1 Peter 3:21 – now saves us. (2) Heb. 10:22 – sprinkled clean, washed with pure water / 1 Peter 3:20-21 – saved through water, baptism. (3) Heb. 10:22 – from an evil conscience (interior) / 1 Peter 3:21 – for a clear conscience (interior). Titus 3:6 and 1 Peter 3:21 also specifically say the grace and power of baptism comes “through Jesus Christ” (who transforms our inner nature).
Mark 16:16 – Jesus says that he who believes and is baptized will be saved. However, the Church has always taught that baptism is a normative, not an absolute necessity. There are some exceptions to the rule because God is not bound by His sacraments.
Luke 23:43 – the good thief, although not baptized, shows that there is also a baptism by desire, as Jesus says to him that he will be in paradise. It should also be noted that when Jesus uses the word “paradise,” He did not mean heaven. Paradise, from the Hebrew “sheol” meant the realm of the righteous dead. This was the place of the dead who were destined for heaven, but who were captive until the Lord’s resurrection. Hence, the good thief was destined for heaven because of his desire to be with Jesus.
Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 – there is also a baptism by blood. Lord says, “I have a baptism to be baptized with” referring to His death. Hence, the Church has always taught that those martyred for the faith may be saved without water baptism (e.g., the Holy Innocents).
Mark 10:38 – Jesus says “are you able…to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?,” referring to His death.
1 John 5:6 – Jesus came by water and blood. He was baptized by both water and blood. Martyrs are baptized by blood.
III. Infant Baptism
Gen. 17:12, Lev. 12:3 – these texts show the circumcision of eight-day old babies as the way of entering into the Old Covenant – Col 2:11-12 – however, baptism is the new “circumcision” for all people of the New Covenant. Therefore, baptism is for babies as well as adults. God did not make His new Covenant narrower than the old Covenant. To the contrary, He made it wider, for both Jews and Gentiles, infants and adults.
Job 14:1-4 – man that is born of woman is full of trouble and unclean. Baptism is required for all human beings because of our sinful human nature.
Psalm 51:5 – we are conceived in the iniquity of sin. This shows the necessity of baptism from conception.
Matt. 18:2-5 – Jesus says unless we become like children, we cannot enter into heaven. So why would children be excluded from baptism?
Matt 19:14 – Jesus clearly says the kingdom of heaven also belongs to children. There is no age limit on entering the kingdom, and no age limit for being eligible for baptism.
Mark 10:14 – Jesus says to let the children come to Him for the kingdom of God also belongs to them. Jesus says nothing about being too young to come into the kingdom of God.
Mark 16:16 – Jesus says to the crowd, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” But in reference to the same people, Jesus immediately follows with “He who does not believe will be condemned.” This demonstrates that one can be baptized and still not be a believer. This disproves the Protestant argument that one must be a believer to be baptized. There is nothing in the Bible about a “believer’s baptism.”
Luke 18:15 – Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” The people brought infants to Jesus that he might touch them. This demonstrates that the receipt of grace is not dependent upon the age of reason.
Acts 2:38 – Peter says to the multitude, “Repent and be baptized..” Protestants use this verse to prove one must be a believer (not an infant) to be baptized. But the Greek translation literally says, “If you repent, then each one who is a part of you and yours must each be baptized” (“Metanoesate kai bapistheto hekastos hymon.”) This, contrary to what Protestants argue, actually proves that babies are baptized based on their parents’ faith. This is confirmed in the next verse.
Acts 2:39 – Peter then says baptism is specifically given to children as well as adults. “Those far off” refers to those who were at their “homes” (primarily infants and children). God’s covenant family includes children. The word “children” that Peter used comes from the Greek word “teknon” which also includes infants.
Luke 1:59 – this proves that “teknon” includes infants. Here, John as a “teknon” (infant) was circumcised. See also Acts 21:21 which uses “teknon” for eight-day old babies. So baptism is for infants as well as adults.
Acts 10:47-48 – Peter baptized the entire house of Cornelius, which generally included infants and young children. There is not one word in Scripture about baptism being limited to adults.
Acts 16:15 – Paul baptized Lydia and her entire household. The word “household” comes from the Greek word “oikos” which is a household that includes infants and children.
Acts 16:15 – further, Paul baptizes the household based on Lydia’s faith, not the faith of the members of the household. This demonstrates that parents can present their children for baptism based on the parents’ faith, not the children’s faith.
Acts 16:30-33 – it was only the adults who were candidates for baptism that had to profess a belief in Jesus. This is consistent with the Church’s practice of instructing catechumens before baptism. But this verse does not support a “believer’s baptism” requirement for everyone. See Acts 16:15,33. The earlier one comes to baptism, the better. For those who come to baptism as adults, the Church has always required them to profess their belief in Christ. For babies who come to baptism, the Church has always required the parents to profess the belief in Christ on behalf of the baby. But there is nothing in the Scriptures about a requirement for ALL baptism candidates to profess their own belief in Christ (because the Church has baptized babies for 2,000 years).
Acts 16:33 – Paul baptized the jailer (an adult) and his entire household (which had to include children). Baptism is never limited to adults and those of the age of reason. See also Luke 19:9; John 4:53; Acts 11:14; 1 Cor. 1:16; and 1 Tim. 3:12; Gen. 31:41; 36:6; 41:51; Joshua 24:15; 2 Sam. 7:11, 1 Chron. 10:6 which shows “oikos” generally includes children.
Rom. 5:12 – sin came through Adam and death through sin. Babies’ souls are affected by Adam’s sin and need baptism just like adult souls.
Rom. 5:15 – the grace of Jesus Christ surpasses that of the Old Covenant. So children can also enter the new Covenant in baptism. From a Jewish perspective, it would have been unthinkable to exclude infants and children from God’s Covenant kingdom.
1 Cor. 1:16 – Paul baptized the household (“oikos”) of Stephanus. Baptism is not limited to adults.
Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:2 – Paul addresses the “saints” of the Church, and these include the children he addresses in Eph. 6:1 and Col. 3:20. Children become saints of the Church only through baptism.
Eph. 2:3 – we are all by nature children of wrath, in sin, like all mankind. Infants are no exception. See also Psalm 51:5 and Job 14:1-4 which teach us we are conceived in sin and born unclean.
2 Thess. 3:10 – if anyone does not work let him not eat. But this implies that those who are unable to work should still be able to eat. Babies should not starve because they are unable to work, and should also not be denied baptism because they are unable to make a declaration of faith.
Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:3-5 – the faith of those who brought in the paralytic cured the paralytic’s sins. This is an example of the forgiveness of sins based on another’s faith, just like infant baptism. The infant child is forgiven of sin based on the parents’ faith.
Matt. 8:5-13 – the servant is healed based upon the centurion’s faith. This is another example of healing based on another’s faith. If Jesus can heal us based on someone else’s faith, then He can baptize us based on someone else’s faith as well.
Mark 9:22-25 – Jesus exercises the child’s unclean spirit based on the father’s faith. This healing is again based on another’s faith.
1 Cor. 7:14 – Paul says that children are sanctified by God through the belief of only one of their parents.
Exodus 12:24-28 – the Passover was based on the parent’s faith. If they did not kill and eat the lamb, their first-born child died.
Joshua 5:2-7 – God punished Israel because the people had not circumcised their children. This was based on the parent’s faith. The parents play a critical role in their child’s salvation.
IV. Pouring and Sprinkling versus Immersion
Ezek. 36:25 – Ezekiel prophesies that God “will ‘sprinkle’ clean water on you and you shall be clean.” The word for “sprinkle” is “rhaino” which means what it says, sprinkle (not immersion). (“Kai rhaino eph hymas hydor katharon.”)
2 Kings 5:14 – Namaan went down and dipped himself in the Jordan. The Greek word for “dipped” is “baptizo.” Here, baptizo means immersion. But many Protestant churches argue that “baptizo” and related tenses of the Greek word always mean immersion, and therefore the Catholic baptisms of pouring or sprinkling water over the head are invalid. The Scriptures disprove their claim.
Num. 19:18 – here, the verbs for dipping (“baptisantes”) and sprinkled (“bapsei”) refers to affusion (pouring) and sprinkling (aspersion), not immersion.
Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16 -John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus will baptize (“baptisei”) with the Holy Spirit and fire. In this case, “baptisei” refers to a “pouring” out over the head. This is confirmed by Matt. 3:16 where the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus’ head like a dove and Acts 2:3-4 where the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the apostles’ heads in the form of tongues of fire. In each case, in fulfilling John the Baptist’s prophecy, the Lord baptized (“baptizo”) in the form of pouring out His Spirit upon the head, not immersing the person.
Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 – Jesus also talks about His baptism (from “baptizo”) of blood, which was shed and sprinkled in His passion. But this baptism does not (and cannot) mean immersion.
Mark 7:3 – the Pharisees do not eat unless they wash (“baptizo” ) their hands. This demonstrates that “baptizo” does not always mean immersion. It can mean pouring water over something (in this case, over their hands).
Mark 7:4 – we see that the Jews washed (“bapto” from baptizo) cups, pitchers and vessels, but this does not mean that they actually immersed these items. Also, some manuscripts say the Jews also washed (bapto) couches, yet they did not immerse the couches, they only sprinkled them.
Luke 11:38 – Jesus had not washed (“ebaptisthe”) His hands before dinner. Here, the derivative of “baptizo” just means washing up, not immersing.
Acts 2:41 – at Peter’s first sermon, 3,000 were baptized. There is archeological proof that immersion would have been impossible in this area. Instead, these 3,000 people had to be sprinkled in water baptism.
Acts 8:38 – because the verse says they “went down into the water,” many Protestants say this is proof that baptism must be done by immersion. But the verb to describe Phillip and the eunuch going down into the water is the same verb (“katabaino”) used in Acts 8:26 to describe the angel’s instruction to Phillip to stop his chariot and go down to Gaza. The word has nothing to do with immersing oneself in water.
Acts 8:39 – because the verse says “they came up out of the water,” many Protestants also use this verse to prove that baptism must be done by immersion. However, the Greek word for “coming up out of the water” is “anebesan” which is plural. The verse is describing that both Phillip and the eunuch ascended out of the water, but does not prove that they were both immersed in the water. In fact, Phillip could not have baptized the eunuch if Phillip was also immersed. Finally, even if this was a baptism by immersion, the verse does not say that baptism by immersion is the only way to baptize.
Acts 9:18; 22:16 – Paul is baptized while standing up in the house of Judas. There is no hot tub or swimming pool for immersion. This demonstrates that Paul was sprinkled.
Acts 10:47-48 – Peter baptized in the house of Cornelius, even though hot tubs and swimming pools were not part of homes. Those in the house had to be sprinkled.
Acts 16:33 – the baptism of the jailer and his household appears to be in the house, so immersion is not possible.
Acts 2:17,18,33 – the pouring of water is like the “pouring” out of the Holy Spirit. Pouring is also called “infusion” (of grace).
1 Cor. 10:2 – Paul says that the Israelites were baptized (“baptizo”) in the cloud and in the sea. But they could not have been immersed because Exodus 14:22 and 15:9 say that they went dry shod. Thus, “baptizo” does not mean immersed in these verses.
Eph. 4:5 – there is only one baptism, just as there is only one Lord and one faith. Once a person is validly baptized by water and the Spirit in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the intention of the Church (whether by pouring or immersion), there is no longer a need to rebaptize the person.
Titus 3:6 – the “washing of regeneration” (baptism) is “poured out” upon us. This “pouring out” generally refers to the pouring of baptismal waters over the head of the newly baptized.
Heb. 6:2 – on the doctrine of baptisms (the word used is “baptismos”) which generally referred to pouring and not immersion.
Heb. 10:22 – the author writes, “with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.” This “sprinkling” of baptism refers to aspersion, not immersion. The text also parallels 1 Peter 3:21, which expressly mentions baptism and its ability to, like Heb. 10:22, purify the conscience (the interior disposition of a person).
Isaiah 44:3 – the Lord “pours” water on the thirsty land and “pours” His Spirit upon our descendants. The Lord is “pouring,” not “immersing.”
2 Thess. 2:15 – hold fast to the tradition of the Church, whether oral or written. Since the time of Christ, baptisms have been done by pouring or sprinkling.
V. Original Sin
Gen. 2:17 – the day you eat of that tree, you shall die. Adam and Eve ate of the tree, and they spiritually died. Some Protestant communities ignore or deny the reality of original sin. But if there is no original sin, then we do not need a Savior either. The horrors of our world testify to the reality of original sin.
Gen. 3:14-19 – God’s punishment for eating of the tree was cursing satan, increasing women’s pain in childbirth, and condemning man to toil and labor for his whole life.
Job 14:1,4 – man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? All humans are afflicted with original sin, and this includes babies as well. This is why the Catholic Church has baptized babies for 2,000 years.
Psalm 51:5 – I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. We have inherited Adam’s sin from the moment of our conception. This is why babies need baptism – to wash away the original sin inherited from Adam and Eve.
Rom. 5:12 – sin came into the world through one man, Adam, and death came through this sin. This sin affects all people, men and women, babies and adults. Through the merits of Jesus Christ, we have the sacrament of baptism to wash away the sin that came through Adam.
Rom. 5:14 – death reigned from Adam to Moses, born from Adam’s original sin. This is a mystery we do not fully understand, but we must all acknowledge our propensity toward evil and our need of God.
Rom. 5:16 – the judgment following one single trespass brought condemnation for all. This means all have inherited the sin of Adam, and all must be washed clean of this sin in the waters of baptism.
Rom. 5:19 – by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners. Original sin is passed on as part of the human condition, and only God in the flesh could atone for our sins by the eternal sacrifice of Himself. Through this sacrifice, God has re-opened the doors to heaven, and through baptism, we are once again made children of God.
1 Cor. 15:21 – for by one man came death. In Adam, all die. In Christ, the new Adam, all now may live.
Eph. 2:1-3 – we were all dead through sin and all lived in the passions of our flesh until Christ came to save us.
Tradition / Church Fathers
I. “Born Again” Means Water Baptism
For Christ also said, ‘Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: ‘Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well…And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow…And for this [rite] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone…And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.” Justin Martyr, First Apology, 61 (A.D. 110-165).
“Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men’s being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration,–as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from God.” Theopilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, 2:16 (A.D. 181).
” ‘And dipped himself,’ says [the Scripture], ‘seven times in Jordan.’ It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but it served as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'” Irenaeus, Fragment, 34 (A.D. 190).
“When, however, the prescript is laid down that ‘without baptism, salvation is attainable by none” (chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, “Unless one be born of water, he hath not life.'” Tertullian, On Baptism, 12:1 (A.D. 203).
“But give me now your best attention, I pray you, for I wish to go back to the fountain of life, and to view the fountain that gushes with healing. The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the breath (spirit) of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the layer he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism.” Hippolytus of Rome, Discourse on the Holy Theophany, 8 (A.D. 217).
“But you will perhaps say, What does the, baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God? In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when yon are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; hut otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true prophet testified to its with an oath: ‘Verily I say to you, That unless a man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore make haste; for there is in these waters a certain power of mercy which was borne upon them at the beginning, and acknowledges those who are baptized under the name of the threefold sacrament, and rescues them from future punishments, presenting as a gift to God the souls that are consecrated by baptism. Betake yourselves therefore to these waters, for they alone can quench the violence of the future fire; and he who delays to approach to them, it is evident that the idol of unbelief remains in him, and by it be is prevented from hastening to the waters which confer salvation. For whether you be righteous or unrighteous, baptism is necessary for you in every respect: for the righteous, that perfection may be accomplished in him, and he may be born again to God; for the unrighteous, that pardon may he vouchsafed him of the sins which he has committed in ignorance. Therefore all should hasten to he born again to God without delay, because the end of every one’s life is uncertain.” Recognitions of Clement, 6:9 (A.D. 221).
“‘But perhaps some one will say, What does it contribute to piety to be baptized with water? In the first place, because you do that which is pleasing to God; and in the second place, being born again to God of water, by reason of fear you change your first generation, which is of lust, and thus you are able to obtain salvation. But otherwise it is impossible. For thus the prophet has sworn to us, saying, ‘Verily I say to you, Unless ye be regenerated by living water into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore approach. For there is there something that is merciful from the beginning, home upon the water, and rescues from the future punishment those who are baptized with the thrice blessed invocation, offering as gifts to God the good deeds of the baptized whenever they are done after their baptism. Wherefore flee to the waters, for this alone can quench the violence of fires. He who will not now come to it still bears the spirit of strife, on account of which he will not approach the living water for his own salvation.” Pseudo-Clementines, Homily 11:26 (A.D. 221).
“The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sins, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit.” Origen, Commentary on Romans, 5:9 (A.D. 244).
“[W]hen they come to us and to the Church which is one, ought to be baptized, for the reason that it is a small matter to ‘lay hands on them that they may receive the Holy Ghost,’ unless they receive also the baptism of the Church. For then finally can they be fully sanctified, and be the sons of God, if they be born of each sacrament; since it is written, ‘Except a man be born again of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’…[O]nly baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God, may be born of both sacraments, because it is written, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'” Cyprian, To Stephen, 71:72 (A.D. 253).
“And in the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with His divine voice, saying, “Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” This is the Spirit which from the beginning was borne over the waters; for neither can the Spirit operate without the water, nor the water without the Spirit…Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ.” Council of Carthage VII (A.D. 258).
“‘But you will perhaps say, What does the, baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God? In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when yon are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; hut otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true prophet testified to its with an oath: ‘Verily I say to you, That unless a man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore make haste; for there is in these waters a certain power of mercy which was borne upon them at the beginning, and acknowledges those who are baptized under the name of the threefold sacrament, and rescues them from future punishments, presenting as a gift to God the souls that are consecrated by baptism. Betake yourselves therefore to these waters, for they alone can quench the violence of the future fire; and he who delays to approach to them, it is evident that the idol of unbelief remains in him, and by it be is prevented from hastening to the waters which confer salvation. For whether you be righteous or unrighteous, baptism is necessary for you in every respect: for the righteous, that perfection may be accomplished in him, and he may be born again to God; for the unrighteous, that pardon may he vouchsafed him of the sins which he has committed in ignorance. Therefore all should hasten to be born again to God without delay, because the end of every one’s life is uncertain.” Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 5:19 (A.D. 310).
“We are circumcised not with a fleshly circumcision but with the circumcision of Christ, that is, we are born again into a new man; for, being buried with Him in His baptism, we must die to the old man, because the regeneration of baptism has the force of resurrection.” Hilary of Poitiers, Trinity, 9:9 (A.D. 359).
“And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened.” Athanasius, Discourse Against the Arians, III:33 (A.D. 360).
“The baptized when they come up are sanctified;–the sealed when they go down are pardoned.—They who come up have put on glory;–they who go down have cast off sin.” Ephraim Syrus, Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany, 6:9 (ante A.D. 373).
“And in what way are we saved? Plainly because we were regenerate through the grace given in our baptism.” Basil, On the Spirit, 10:26 (A.D. 375).
“This then is what it is to be born again of water and of the Spirit, the being made dead being effected in the water, while our life is wrought in us through the Spirit. In three immersions, then, and with three invocations, the great mystery of baptism is performed, to the end that the type of death may be fully figured, and that by the tradition of the divine knowledge the baptized may have their souls enlightened. It follows that if there is any grace in the water, it is not of the nature of the water, but of the presence of the Spirit.” Basil, On the Spirit, 15:35 (A.D. 375).
“[T]he birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit.” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 2:8 (A.D. 382).
“For if no one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious? These verily are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed Head.” John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, 3:5-6 (A.D. 387).
“The Word recognizes three Births for us; namely, the natural birth, that of Baptism, and that of the Resurrection…” Gregory of Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, I (A.D. 388).
“And that the writer was speaking of baptism is evident from the very words in which it is stated that it is impossible to renew unto repentance those who were fallen, inasmuch as we are renewed by means of the laver of baptism, whereby we are born again, as Paul says himself: ‘For we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that, like as Christ rose from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we, too, should walk in newness of life.'” Ambrose, Concerning Repentance, 2:8 (A.D. 390).
“Therefore read that the three witnesses in baptism, the water, the blood, and the Spirit, are one, for if you take away one of these, the Sacrament of Baptism does not exist. For what is water without the cross of Christ? A common element, without any sacramental effect. Nor, again, is there the Sacrament of Regeneration without water: ‘For except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'” Ambrose, On the Mysteries, 4:20 (A.D. 391).
“Baptism, then, is a purification from sins, a remission of trespasses, a cause of renovation and regeneration…Let us however, if it seems well, persevere in enquiring more fully and more minutely concerning Baptism, starting, as from the fountain-head, from the Scriptural declaration, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ Why are both named, and why is not the Spirit alone accounted sufficient for the completion of Baptism? Man, as we know full well, is compound, not simple: and therefore the cognate and similar medicines are assigned for healing to him who is twofold and conglomerate:–for his visible body, water, the sensible element,–for his soul, which we cannot see, the Spirit invisible, invoked by faith, present unspeakably. For ‘the Spirit breathes where He wills, and thou hearest His voice, but canst not tell whence He cometh or whither He goeth.’ He blesses the body that is baptized, and the water that baptizes. Despise not, therefore, the Divine laver, nor think lightly of it, as a common thing, on account of the use of water. For the power that operates is mighty, and wonderful are the things that are wrought thereby.” Gregory of Nyssa, On the Baptism of Christ (ante A.D. 394).
“Time would fail me were I to try to lay before you in order all the passages in the Holy Scriptures which relate to the efficacy of baptism or to explain the mysterious doctrine of that second birth which though it is our second is yet our first in Christ.” Jerome, To Oceanus, 69:7 (A.D. 397).
“Be ye likewise contented with one baptism alone, that which is into the death of the Lord…For the Lord says: ‘Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ And again: ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.'” Apostolic Constitutions, 6:3:15 (A.D. 400).
“Weep for the unbelievers; weep for those who differ in nowise from them, those who depart hence without the illumination [baptism], without the seal! They indeed deserve our wailing, they deserve our groans; they are outside the Palace, with the culprits, with the condemned: for, ‘Verily I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.’ Mourn for those who have died in wealth, and did not from their wealth think of any solace for their soul, who had power to wash away their sins and would not.” John Chrysostom, Homily on Philippians, 3:24 (A.D. 404).
“It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated through the agency of another’s will when that infant is brought to Baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn…’Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.’ The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was in one Adam.” Augustine, To Boniface, Epistle 98:2 (A.D. 408).
“But the sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly the sacrament of regeneration: Wherefore, as the man who has never lived cannot die, and he who has never died cannot rise again, so he who has never been born cannot be born again. From which the conclusion arises, that no one who has not been born could possibly have been born again in his father. Born again, however, a man must be, after he has been born; because, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ Even an infant, therefore, must be imbued with the sacrament of regeneration, lest without it his would be an unhappy exit out of this life; and this baptism is not administered except for the remission of sins. And so much does Christ show us in this very passage; for when asked, How could such things be? He reminded His questioner of what Moses did when he lifted up the serpent. Inasmuch, then, as infants are by the sacrament of baptism conformed to the death of Christ, it must be admitted that they are also freed from the serpent’s poisonous bite, unless we wilfully wander from the rule of the Christian faith. This bite, however, they did not receive in their own actual life, but in him on whom the wound was primarily inflicted.” Augustine, On Forgiveness of sin and baptism, 43:27 (A.D. 412).
“No sooner do they rise from the baptismal font, and by being born again and incorporated into our Lord and Saviour.” Jerome, Against the Pelagians, III:15 (A.D. 415).
“For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism. For He who said, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,’ made also an exception in their favor, in that other sentence where He no less absolutely said, “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.'” Augustine, City of God, 13:7 (A.D. 419).
“Moreover, from the time when He said, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven;’ and again, ‘He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it; ‘ no one becomes a member of Christ except it be either by baptism in Christ, or death for Christ.” Augustine, On the Soul and its Origin, 1:10:9 (A.D. 419).
“One generation and another generation; the generation by which we are made the faithful, and are born again by baptism; the generation by which we shall rise again from the dead, and shall live with the Angels for ever.” Augustine, Psalms,135:11 (A.D. 433).
“And each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration; and to every one when he is re-born, the water of baptism is like the Virgin’s womb; for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, Who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing.” Leo the Great (regn. A.D. 440-461), Sermon 24:3 (ante A.D. 461).
“From that time when the Saviour said to us: ‘If any man is not born again from water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God’, without the sacrament of baptism–apart from those who without baptism in the Catholic Church shed their blood for Christ–no one can receive the Kingdom of God or eternal life.” Fulgentius, On Faith, 3 (A.D. 524).
“The baptism then into Christ means that believers are baptized into Him…And He laid on us the command to be born again of water and of the Spirit, through prayer and invocation, the Holy Spirit drawing nigh unto the water. For since man’s nature is twofold, consisting of soul and body, He bestowed on us a twofold purification, of water and of the Spirit the Spirit renewing that part in us which is after His image and likeness, and the water by the grace of the Spirit cleansing the body from sin and delivering it from corruption, the water indeed expressing the image of death, but the Spirit affording the earnest of life.” John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith, 9 (A.D. 743).
II. Infant Baptism
“And many, both men and women, who have been Christ’s disciples from childhood, remain pure and at the age of sixty or seventy years…” Justin Martyr, First Apology, 15:6 (A.D. 110-165).
“And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God [baptism]; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who as passed through the world without sins.” Aristides, Apology, 15 (A.D. 140).
“Polycarp declared, ‘Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?” Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, 9 (A.D. 156).
“For He came to save all through means of Himself–all, I say, who through Him are born again to God–infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 2,22:4 (A.D. 180).
“I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord.” Polycrates, Fragment in Eusebius’ Church History, V:24:7 (A.D. 190).
“And they shall baptise the little children first. And if they can answer for themselves, let them answer. But if they cannot, let their parents answer or someone from their family.” Hippolytus of Rome, Apostolic Tradition, 21 (c. A.D. 215).
“[T]herefore children are also baptized.” Origen, Homily on Luke, XIV (A.D. 233).
“For this reason, moreover, the Church received from the apostles the tradition of baptizing infants too.” Origen, Homily on Romans, V:9 (A.D. 244).
“Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants. And indeed if there were nothing in infants which required a remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous.” Origen, Homily on Leviticus, 8:3 (post A.D. 244).
“But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day…And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to be hindered from baptism…we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons…” Cyprian, To Fidus, Epistle 58(64):2, 6 (A.D. 251).
“It shows no crease when infants put it on [the baptismal garment], it is not too scanty for young men, it fits women without alteration.” Optatus of Mileve, Against Parmenium, 5:10(A.D. 365).
“Have you an infant child? Do not let sin get any opportunity, but let him be sanctified from his childhood; from his very tenderest age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Fearest thou the Seal on account of the weakness of nature?” Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:17 (A.D. 381).
“Be it so, some will say, in the case of those who ask for Baptism; what have you to say about those who are still children, and conscious neither of the loss nor of the grace? Are we to baptize them too? Certainly, if any danger presses. For it is better that they should be unconsciously sanctified than that they should depart unsealed and uninitiated.” Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:28 (A.D. 381).
“‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ No one is expected: not the infant, not the one prevented by necessity.” Ambrose, Abraham, 2,11:79 (A.D. 387).
“We do baptize infants, although they are not guilty of any sins.” John Chrysostom, Ad Neophytos (A.D. 388).
“And if any one seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and that not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by apostolical authority, still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God’s earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized.” Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatist, 4:24:31 (A.D. 400).
“While the son is a child and thinks as a child and until he comes to years of discretion to choose between the two roads to which the letter of Pythagoras points, his parents are responsible for his actions whether these be good or bad. But perhaps you imagine that, if they are not baptized, the children of Christians are liable for their own sins; and that no guilt attaches to parents who withhold from baptism those who by reason of their tender age can offer no objection to it. The truth is that, as baptism ensures the salvation of the child, this in turn brings advantage to the parents. Whether you would offer your child or not lay within your choice, but now that you have offered her, you neglect her at your peril.” Jerome, To Laeta, Epistle 107:6 (A.D. 403).
“Now, seeing that they [Pelagians] admit the necessity of baptizing infants,–finding themselves unable to contravene that authority of the universal Church, which has been unquestionably handed down by the Lord and His apostles,–they cannot avoid the further concession, that infants require the same benefits of the Mediator, in order that, being washed by the sacrament and charity of the faithful, and thereby incorporated into the body of Christ, which is the Church, they may be reconciled to God, and so live in Him, and be saved, and delivered, and redeemed, and enlightened. But from what, if not from death, and the vices, and guilt, and thraldom, and darkness of sin? And, inasmuch as they do not commit any sin in the tender age of infancy by their actual transgression, original sin only is left.” Augustine, On forgiveness of sin and baptism, 39 (A.D. 412).
“The blessed Cyprian, indeed, said, in order to correct those who thought that an infant should not be baptized before the eighth day, that it was not the body but the soul which behoved to be saved from perdition — in which statement he was not inventing any new doctrine, but preserving the firmly established faith of the Church; and he, along with some of his colleagues in the episcopal office, held that a child may be properly baptized immediately after its birth.” Augustine, Epistle 166:8:23 (A.D. 412).
“‘C. Tell me, pray, and rid me of all doubts, why little children are baptized?
A. That their sins may be forgiven them in baptism.” Jerome, Against the Pelagians, 3:18 (A.D. 415).
“Likewise, whosoever says that those children who depart out of this life without partaking of that sacrament shall be made alive in Christ, certainly contradicts the apostolic declaration, and condemns the universal Church, in which it is the practice to lose no time and run in haste to administer baptism to infant children, because it is believed, as an indubitable truth, that otherwise they cannot be made alive in Christ.”
Augustine, Epistle 167,7,21 (A.D. 415).
“Canon 2. Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mothers’ wombs ought not to be baptized…let him be anathema.” Council of Carthage, Canon 2 (A.D. 418).
“Concerning the Donatists it seemed good that we should hold counsel with our brethren and fellow priests Siricius and Simplician concerning those infants alone who are baptized by Donatists: lest what they did not do of their own will, when they should be converted to the Church of God with a salutary determination, the error of their parents might prevent their promotion to the ministry of the holy altar.” African Code, Canon 47/51 (A.D. 419).
“[T]his concupiscence, I say, which is cleansed only by the sacrament of regeneration, does undoubtedly, by means of natural birth, pass on the bond of sin to a man’s posterity, unless they are themselves loosed from it by regeneration.” Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, 1:23 (A.D. 420).
“Believest thou this?…When a newborn child is brought forward to receive the anointing of initiation, or rather of consummation through holy baptism.” Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, 7 (A.D. 428).
“Question XIX. Concerning those who after being baptized in infancy were captured by the Gentiles, and lived with them after the manner of the Gentiles, when they come back to Roman territory as still young men, if they seek communion, what shall be done?
Reply: If they have only lived with Gentiles and eaten sacrificial food, they can be purged by fasting and laying on of hands, in order that for the future abstaining from things offered to idols, they may be partakers of Christ’s mysteries. But if they have either worshipped idols or been polluted with manslaughter or fornication, they must not be admitted to communion, except by public penance.” Leo the Great [regn. A.D. 440-461], To Rusticus, Epistle 167 (A.D. 459).
“But with respect to trine immersion in baptism, no truer answer can be given than what you have yourself felt to be right; namely that, where there is one faith, a diversity of usage does no harm to holy Church. Now we, in immersing thrice, signify the sacraments of the three days’ sepulture; so that, when the infant is a third time lifted out of the water, the resurrection after a space of three days may be expressed.” Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604], To Leander, Epistle 43 (A.D. 591).
III. Original Sin
“He stood in need of baptism, or of the descent of the Spirit like a dove; even as He submitted to be born and to be crucified, not because He needed such things, but because of the human race, which from Adam had fallen under the power of death and the guile of the serpent, and each one of which had committed personal transgression. For God, wishing both angels and men, who were endowed with freewill, and at their own disposal, to do whatever He had strengthened each to do, made them so, that if they chose the things acceptable to Himself, He would keep them free from death and from punishment; but that if they did evil, He would punish each as He sees fit.” Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 88:4 (A.D. 155).
“And not by the aforesaid things alone has the Lord manifested Himself, but [He has done this] also by means of His passion. For doing away with [the effects of] that disobedience of man which had taken place at the beginning by the occasion of a tree, “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;” rectifying that disobedience which had occurred by reason of a tree, through that obedience which was [wrought out] upon the tree [of the cross]. Now He would not have come to do away, by means of that same [image], the disobedience which had been incurred towards our Maker if He proclaimed another Father. But inasmuch as it was by these things that we disobeyed God, and did not give credit to His word, so was it also by these same that He brought in obedience and consent as respects His Word; by which things He clearly shows forth God Himself, whom indeed we had offended in the first Adam, when he did not perform His commandment. In the second Adam, however, we are reconciled, being made obedient even unto death. For we were debtors to none other but to Him whose commandment we had transgressed at the beginning.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V:16:3( A.D. 180).
“Every soul, then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ; moreover, it is unclean all the while that it remains without this regeneration; and because unclean, it is actively sinful, and suffuses even the flesh (by reason of their conjunction) with its own shame.” Tertullian, On the Soul, 40 (A.D. 208).
“Everyone in the world falls prostrate under sin. And it is the Lord who sets up those who are cast down and who sustains all who are falling. In Adam all die, and thus the world prostrate and requires to be set up again, so that Christ all may be made to live.” Origen, Homilies on Jeremias, 8:1 (post A.D. 244).
“If, in the case of the worst sinners and of those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from Baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam. He has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another [from Adam].” Cyprian, Epistle to Fidus, 68:5 (c. A.D. 250).
“But if any one were to think that the earthy image is the flesh itself, but the heavenly image some other spiritual body besides the flesh; let him first consider that Christ, the heavenly man, when He appeared, bore the same form of limbs and the same image of flesh as ours, through which also He, who was not man, became man, that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ For if He bore flesh for any other reason than that of setting the flesh free, and raising it up, why did He bear flesh superfluously, as He purposed neither to save it, nor to raise it up? But the Son of God does nothing superfluously. He did not then take the form of a servant uselessly, but to raise it up and save it. For He truly was made man, and died, and not in mere appearance, but that He might truly be shown to be the first begotten from the dead, changing the earthy into the heavenly, and the mortal into the immortal.” Methodius, On the Resurrection, 13 (A.D. 300).
“That Lord, I say, who in His simple and immaterial Deity, entered our nature, and of the virgin’s womb became ineffably incarnate; that Lord, who was partaker of nothing else save the lump of Adam, who was by the serpent tripped up.” Methodius, Oration concerning Simeon and Anna, 13 (ante A.D. 300).
“Moreover, among the sons of Adam there is none besides Him who might enter the race without being wounded or swallowed up. For sin has ruled from the time Adam transgressed the command. By one among the many was it swallowed up; many did it wound, and many did it kill; but none among the many killed it until our Savior came, who took it on Himself and fixed it to His cross.” Aphraates the Persian Sage, Treatises, 7:1 (ante A.D. 345).
“Adam sinned and earned all sorrows;–likewise the world after His example, all guilt.–And instead of considering how it should be restored,–considered how its fall should be pleasant for it.–Glory to Him Who came and restored it!” Ephraem, Hymns on the Epiphany, 10:1 (A.D. 350).
“Through him our forefather Adam was cast out for disobedience, and exchanged a Paradise bringing forth wondrous fruits of its own accord for the ground which bringeth forth thorns. What then? Some one will say. We have been beguiled and are lost. Is there then no salvation left? We have fallen: Is it not possible to rise again? We have been blinded: May we not recover our sight? We have become crippled: Can we never walk upright? In a word, we are dead: May we not rise again? He that woke Lazarus who was four days dead and already stank, shall He not, O man, much more easily raise thee who art alive? He who shed His precious blood for us, shall Himself deliver us from sin.” Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 2:4-5 (A.D. 350).
“And this thought commends itself strongly to the right-minded. For since the first man Adam altered, and through sin death came into the world, therefore it became the second Adam to be unalterable; that, should the Serpent again assault, even the Serpent’s deceit might be baffled, and, the Lord being unalterable and unchangeable, the Serpent might become powerless in his assault against all. For as when Adam had transgressed, his sin reached unto all men, so, when the Lord had become man and had overthrown the Serpent, that so great strength of His is to extend through all men, so that each of us may say, ‘For we are not ignorant of his devices’ Good reason then that the Lord, who ever is in nature unalterable, loving righteousness and hating iniquity, should be anointed and Himself’ sent, that, He, being and remaining the same, by taking this alterable flesh, ‘might condemn sin in it,’ and might secure its freedom, and its ability s henceforth ‘to fulfil the righteousness of the law’ in itself, so as to be able to say, ‘But we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us.'” Athanasius, Against the Arians, I:51 (A.D. 358).
“Little given, much gotten; by the donation of food the original sin is discharged. Just as Adam transmitted the sin by his wicked eating, we destroy that treacherous food when we cure the need and hunger.” Basil, Eulogies & Sermons, Famine & Drought 8:7 (ante 379).
“And further, above this, we have in common reason, the Law, the Prophets, the very Sufferings of Christ, by which we were all without exception created anew, who partake of the same Adam, and were led astray by the serpent and slain by sin, and are saved by the heavenly Adam and brought back by the tree of shame to the tree of life from whence we had fallen.” Gregory of Nazianzen, Against the Arians, 33:9 (A.D. 380).
“For death is alike to all, without difference for the poor, without exception for the rich. And so although through the sin of one alone, yet it passed upon all; that we may not refuse to acknowledge Him to be also the Author of death, Whom we do not refuse to acknowledge as the Author of our race; and that, as through one death is ours, so should be also the resurrection; and that we should not refuse the misery, that we may attain to the gift. For, as we read, Christ ‘is come to save that which was lost,’ and ‘to be Lord both of the dead and living.’ In Adam I fell, in Adam I was cast out of Paradise, in Adam I died; how shall the Lord call me back, except He find me in Adam; guilty as I was in him, so now justified in Christ. If, then, death be the debt of all, we must be able to endure the payment. But this topic must be reserved for later treatment.” Ambrose, On the Death of his brother Satyrus, II:6 (A.D. 380).
“In whom” — that is, in Adam — ‘all have sinned’. And he said ‘in whom,’ using the masculine form, when he was speaking of a woman, because the reference was not to a specific individual but to the race. It is clear, therefore, that all have sinned in Adam,en masse as it were; for when he himself was corrupted by sin, all whom he begot were born under sin. On his account, then, all are sinners, because we are all from him. He lost God’s favor when he strayed.” Ambrosiaster, Commentaries on thirteen Pauline Epistles, Rom 5:12 (A.D. 384).
“How then did death come in and prevail? “Through the sin of one.” But what means, “for that all have sinned?” This; he having once fallen, even they that had not eaten of the tree did from him, all of them, become mortal…From whence it is clear, that it was not this sin, the transgression, that is, of the Law, but that of Adam’s disobedience, which marred all things. Now what is the proof of this? The fact that even before the Law all died: for ‘death reigned’ he says, ‘from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned.’ How did it reign? ‘After the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.’ Now this is why Adam is a type of Christ …[W]hen the Jew says to thee, How came it, that by the well-doing of this one Person, Christ, the world was saved? thou mightest be able to say to him, How by the disobedience of this one person, Adam, came it to be condemned?” John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans, 10 (A.D. 391).
“After Adam sinned, as I noted before, when the Lord said, ‘You are earth, and to earth you shall return’, Adam was condemned to death. This condemnation passed on to the whole race. For all sinned, already by their sharing in that nature, as the Apostle says: “For through one man sin made its entry, and through sin death, and thus it came down to all men, because all have sinned…Someone will say to me: But the sin of Adam deservedly passed on to his posterity, because they were begotten of him: but how are we to be begotten of Christ, so that we can be saved through Him? Do not think of these things in a carnal fashion. You have already seen how we are begotten by Christ our Parent. In these last times Christ took a soul and with it flesh from Mary: this flesh came to prepare salvation.” Pacian, Sermons on Baptism, 2,6 (ante A.D. 392).
“Evil was mixed with our nature from the beginning…through those who by their disobedience introduced the disease. Just as in the natural propagation of the species each animal engenders its like, so man is born from man, a being subject to passions from a being subject to passions, a sinner from a sinner. Thus sin takes its rise in us as we are born; it grows with us and keeps us company till life’s term.” Gregory of Nyssa, The Beatitudes, 6 (ante A.D. 394).
“This grace, however, of Christ, without which neither infants nor adults can be saved, is not rendered for any merits, but is given gratis, on account of which it is also called grace. ‘Being justified,’ says the apostle, ‘freely through His blood.’ Whence they, who are not liberated through grace, either because they are not yet able to hear, or because they are unwilling to obey; or again because they did not receive, at the time when they were unable on account of youth to hear, that bath of regeneration, which they might have received and through which they might have been saved, are indeed justly condemned; because they are not without sin, either that which they have derived from their birth, or that which they have added from their own misconduct. ‘For all have sinned’–whether in Adam or in themselves–“and come short of the glory of God.'” Augustine, On Nature and Grace, 4 (A.D. 415).
“[T]his concupiscence, I say, which is cleansed only by the sacrament of regeneration, does undoubtedly, by means of natural birth, pass on the bond of sin to a man’s posterity, unless they are themselves loosed from it by regeneration.” Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, 1:23 (A.D. 420).
“Can. 1. If anyone says that by the offense of Adam’s trangression not the whole man, that is, according to body and soul, was changed for the worse, but believes that while the liberty of the soul endures without harm, the body only is exposed to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and resists the Scriptures…Can. 2. If anyone asserts that Adam’s trangression injured him alone and not his descendents, or declares that certainly death of the body only, which is the punishment of sin, but not sin also, which is death of the soul, passed through one man into the whole human race, he will do an injustice to God, contradicting the Apostle.” Council of Orange, Canons 1-2 (A.D. 530).
Leave a Reply