The Fourfold States of Man

I stumbled across the Fourfold States of Man a couple days ago, and I felt compelled to share. As you may expect, there are four different states of man relating to man’s ability to sin and not sin. 

If you’re curious, Saint Augustine of Hippo developed this concept in the fifth century AD in a book titled Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love. 

  1. Man has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin.  This is the pre-Fall state. In the garden, man has the ability to sin and not to sin. 
  2. Man has the ability to sin and not the ability not to sin. Post fall, man does not have the ability to not sin. 
  3. Man has the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. With the gift of salvation, we are given the ability to not sin. 
  4. Man has not the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. This is the glorification state, given in heaven. 

These states seem to briefly describe the theme of the Bible itself. It answers the questions of how things got this way, how they were before, why we should fix them, and how we should fix them.