Falling into Nature: The New Thomist View of Original Sin in Dialogue with Maximus the Confessor

  • Oskari Juurikkala (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


One of the big questions in contemporary theology is how the theory of evolution influences the doctrine of original sin. This paper critically engages with Daniel Houck's recent book Aquinas, Original Sin, and the Challenge of Evolution (2020), which proposes a new Thomist view of original sin. Houck describes the original sin as Fall not away from but rather into nature. A potential source of ambiguity in Houck’s view of original sin is the relationship between the original creation of man and human nature as we know it. The paper argues that Maximus the Confessor’s logos/tropos distinction may help to clarify Thomas’ intention and express the relationship between God’s original creative intent and our present, empirically observed human nature with greater precision. The paper also asks whether the biological man is better characterized as the biblical ‘flesh’, instead of ‘human nature’. It suggests that we might define the biological human being in its present state as human nature secundum quid, and the perfect humanity of Christ (and our humanity perfected by the grace of the Holy Spirit) as human nature simpliciter.
Period2 Apr 2022
Event titleThe Origin of Life and Nature Before Sin: Scientific and Theological Perspectives
Event typeConference
LocationRome, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • evolution
  • original sin
  • Thomism