Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Hemmingsen on the Sins Present in the Fall

In his Enchiridion Theologicum, Niels Hemmingsen lists the sins he believes to have occurred together  (concurrunt) in the Fall of our first parents. He finds that there were eight particular sins present:1

I. Doubt concerning the Word of God.

II. Loss of faith, since they did not believe God when He was threatening punishments.

III. Curiosity, for they departed from the Word, and sought another wisdom.2

IIII. Pride, because of which they wanted to be made much of.

V. Contempt of God, since they violated the commandment of God contrary to conscience.3

VI. Apostasy, by which they preferred the Devil to God.

VII. Ingratitude, by which they expelled the Holy Spirit Who was dwelling in them.4

VIII. The murder of themselves and their whole posterity. For this Fall was the first doorway of all crimes and miseries of their posterity. Therefore, in no way should original sin be minimized, since it was produced from so many monstrosities of most horrendous crimes.5

  1. The translation is my own.
  2. These first three, then, have to do with their stance toward God speaking. Hemmingsen distinguishes between “doubt” (dubitatio) and “loss of faith” (amissio fidei). Finally, “curiosity” leads them to wander away, turn aside, or withdraw to seek wisdom elsewhere than in the Word.
  3. In the next two, our first parents thought more of themselves than of God’s commandment and their own conscience, which witnesses to that commandment.
  4. Their love and sense of thankfulness were out of order. They put another before Him (the Devil) and were not grateful to Him.
  5. Now they are charged with killing all of their posterity.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.