Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle, By Henri Blocher
Original Sin
  • Length: 158 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: October 02, 2000
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2605
  • ISBN: 9780830826056

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We live in a world shot through with evil. The twentieth century has witnessed suffering and human cruelty on a scale never before imagined. Yet, paradoxically, in recent years the doctrine of original sin has suffered neglect and ridicule.

In this philosophically sophisticated treatment of the biblical evidence for original sin, Henri Blocher offers a robust response. Interacting with the best theological thinking on the subject, this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume shows that while the nature of original sin is a mystery—even a riddle—only belief in it makes sense of evil and wrongdoing.

After a general survey of the biblical evidence, Blocher moves on to discuss the two key texts. First, he considers the relation of the Eden story of Genesis 2 and 3 to modern scientific, literary and theological thinking. Then, he offers a new and groundbreaking interpretation of Romans 5, where Paul discusses Christ and Adam. From this exegetical foundation, he goes on to show how the doctrine of original sin makes sense of the paradoxes of human existence. In the final chapter, he discusses the intellectual difficulties that some feel remain with the doctrine itself.

Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead

"Henri Blocher . . . is able to think through the interlocking contributions of historical theology, biblical theology and systematic theology, and come to fresh conclusions in the light of Scripture, without overturning all that is valuable from the past. . . . This is a book to be read and thought through with great care."

D. A. Carson (from the series preface)

"Blocher's short and pungent book addresses the central issues [of original sin] in an imaginative and constructive way. . . . Much wisdom is compressed into these pages along with a gentleness of touch that belies the weightiness of the subject."

The Expository Times


Series Preface

1. Original Sin as Taught in Holy Scripture
Universal Sinfulness
Natural Sinfulness
Inherited Sinfulness
Adamic Sinfulness

2. Original Sin as Adamic Event
The Eden Story and Palaeo-anthropology
The Eden Story and Biblical Inter-textuality
The Eden Story and Literary Discernment
The Eden Story and Theological Reflection

3. Discerning Paul's Mind on Adam's Role
Looser Interpretations of Romans 5
Tighter Interpretations of Romans 5
Untying the Knot? A New Interpretation

4. Original Sin as a Key to Human Experience
Misery and Royal Descent
Shared Inheritance and the Individual Decision
Necessity and Responsiblity

5. Original Sin as Propagated and Broken
No Refuge in Unreason
Traditional Metaphors
Second Thoughts
A Gate of Hope

Index of Authors
Index of Scripture References
Index of References to Apocryphal and Other Ancient Sources
Index of Subjects


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Henri Blocher

In October 2003, Henri Blocher was appointed to the Guenther H. Knoedler Chair of Theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Since 1965 he has served as professor of systematic theology at the Faculté Libre de Théologie Evangélique in Vaux-sur-Seine near Paris, France. A leading evangelical theologian and statesman, Blocher was a member of the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization (1975-1980), served the World Evangelical Fellowship/Alliance in a number of capacities, and taught in schools in Europe, Australia, Africa, Canada, and the US. He is currently president of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians. Blocher studied at a number of institutions including the Sorbonne, London Bible College, Gordon Divinity School, and Faculté Libre de Théologie Protestant of Paris. He has written six books, four of which have appeared in English, and several dozen articles. His English publications include Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle, Evil and the Cross: Christian Thought and the Problem of Evil, and In the Beginning: The Opening chapters of Genesis.

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.