John Taylor (remember him? See Part 3) objected to the Doctrine of Original Sin as being “unreasonable” because if true it would make God the author of sin. Edwards responded in his book “Original Sin” by explaining how God PERMITS sin without being the AUTHOR of sin.
Adam and Eve originally possessed two natures: a lower “natural” principle of mere human nature (including self-love, natural appetites and passions) and a higher “supernatural” principle that was “spiritual, holy and divine, summarily comprehended in divine love”. As long as the higher nature of love towards God reigned, it controlled the lower nature. They were perfectly happy, yet they had the ability to choose evil. When they did so, spurning God’s love by means of their disobedience, God withdrew the higher principle, or nature, leaving them with only the lower one.
The lower nature had not been evil as long as it had been tempered by the higher nature. But now the restraint of that nature had been removed. God, by withdrawing the higher spiritual nature, thus permitted mankind to naturally choose evil. Once the higher nature was removed, Adam and Eve had only the lower nature to naturally pass on to their posterity. Acorns will always produce oaks, Edwards illustrated. Righteousness cannot be inherited or naturally acquired. It must come to an individual according to a much higher spiritual principle – by God’s grace being grafted into the tree of which Christ is the root.