Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Does the Carnal Nature Return?

QUESTION: Does the carnal nature, destroyed by entire sanctification, return and become the impulse to the sinful act when a person entirely sanctified commits sin?

ANSWER: No. The sinful act defiles the nature. This raises the question how a perfectly holy being can sin. How did sin get into a holy universe. This is an unanswerable question which has vexed all the philosophy of all generations. There are no causes of sin, and no good reason, only conditions privative, such as defect of knowledge in Adam and in all children; want of acquaintance with law and its penalty, with the added fact that no free agent is ever created or born fully equipped for liberty by experience and good habits. And lastly, the holiest person on the earth is exposed to the irruption of evil spirits. These considerations do not necessitate sin, but they render it highly probable. Father E. T. Taylor, "the old man eloquent" in the Boston Seaman's Bethel, used to speak of Adam as a "big baby toddling forth amid the pitfalls of Satan." This is only a concrete way of saying with Bishop Butler's Analogy, that the Creator could not make a moral agent with good moral habits. The puzzle of the sin of an entirely sanctified person, though of the same kind as that of the sin of the holy angels, may be somewhat greater becasue of his former experience of the sorrow of sinning.

Steele's Answers pp. 212, 213.