Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 37, No 1 (2018)

The Augustinian Perspective on the Transmission of Original Sin and Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Cristina Richie
Issued Date: 7 Jun 2018

Abstract


St. Augustine of Hippo believed that original sin is transmitted through concupiscent intercourse. The new assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) now allow humans to create children without any intercourse, thus opening the theological possibility for circumventing the transmission of original sin, if Augustine was correct in his theory. This article will first examine Augustine’s speculative theology of prelapsarian sexual intercourse and procreation, followed by his view on the postlapsarian transmission of original sin. Second, I will describe assisted reproductive technologies, with a focus on in-vitro fertilization. I will then, third, place ARTs within an Augustinian theology of the transmission of original sin, underscoring the implications for a free will, Protestant Christian anthropology, Christology, soteriology, and missiology. I will conclude the article by considering the role of historical theology for modern scientific advancements such as ARTs.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.31054

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