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This question arose after I read a sentence like this :

We are not sinners because we sin
We sin because we are sinners.

So "because it's carnivore then it eats meat" --vs-- "because it eats meat then it's carnivore"? To me it seems both are correct, I really don't know which one is the proper one (if any).

Another illustration is something like this:
Mr.X for the first time steal John's cellphone on Monday.
Disregarding whether it is Mr.X first time stealing or not,
a Tuesday newspaper wrote: "The thief stole John's cellphone on Monday."
From the sentence above, to me the logic is like this :
Mr.X must already a thief before he stole the cellphone
So to me the logic is the following:

A. "because Mr.X is a thief, then he stole John's cellphone".

But after knowing that it's Mr.X first time to steal, then I think Mr.X cannot be called a thief before he stole the cell phone. So the logic is the following:

B. "because Mr.X stole John's cellphone, then Mr.X is a thief"

So, based on the Tuesday newspaper sentence only (disregarding the knowledge whether it's Mr.X first time stealing or not), it seems the reader cannot fully understand that newspaper sentence.

Another example, a newspaper wrote : "The Diva was born in 1964".
From that sentence, I'm quite sure the reader can fully understand that whoever is the name of the Diva, in 1964 she is not a Diva (yet)".

Now my main question is:

Even if it's Mr.X first time stealing, is it because (before anything happen) Mr.X is already a thief "metaphysically"? The same with this: is it because (before anything happen) the animal is already a carnivore "metaphysically"? r is it because after a naming was "established" (someone who steal we call it "a thief", an animal which eat meat we call it "a carnivore"), then the word a thief / a carnivore existed "metaphysically" ?

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    I would suggest that it's what you call "naming". Or in other words definitions. I don't understand what you refer to with "existed metaphysically". In general we could define an arbitrary name to stand for "someone who steals" at any given moment. Maybe it would be helpfull to clarify what you mean with "existed metaphysically" – CaZaNOx Nov 14 '19 at 9:39
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    I'm uncertain on this question's focus. Is it a question of interpreting the lines about sinners (and thiefs)? Is it asking if those lines are true? Or is this an ontological question: What logically constitutes a "sinner" or a "thief"? If an ontological question, it seems like it might be related to thoughts on free will. I hope you find an answer. – Syntax Junkie Nov 14 '19 at 22:12
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    "Sins" aren't real; there's no magic. – Engineer Nov 15 '19 at 4:39
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    I would also question the notion of sin. The question takes a very particular view of sin and if we don't hold it the question evaporates. – user20253 Nov 15 '19 at 12:38
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    The quotation is from someone that believes in the doctrine of "original sin" (i.e. that we are born as sinners because Adam and Eve sinned). For the rest of the world that doesn't believe in that doctrine, one needs to sin in order to become a sinner. It's that simple. – Ray Butterworth Nov 15 '19 at 14:05

14 Answers 14

20

'Because' is, I'd suggest, ambiguous in your example. There is the 'because' of causation or the 'because' of 'by reason of'. The example uses both senses.

'Are we sinners because we sin?' can be read as 'By reason of the fact that we sin, we are sinners' - that fact makes appropriate that description. (Compare: 'He is a bachelor because he is an unmarried man.' No causation here, just a case of one description justifying another.)

'We sin because we are sinners' can be read causally as 'Our being in a state of sin causally explains our sinning'. (Compare: 'He was rude because he was angry.' This is causal, a case of his psychological state causally explaining an action.)

We could have a long debate about the psychological role of causation and whether psychological states can cause actions. I sidestep that debate here.

I have interpreted your first 'because' in terms of 'by reason of' and the second in terms of causation. Whether a different interpretation could plausibly transpose the two senses of 'because' in your example, I doubt but leave an open question.

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  • Thank you for the answer, Geoffrey. From what you wrote : 'Are we sinners because we sin?' can be read as 'By reason of the fact that we sin, we are sinners'. I think I can understand that. But when it's connected with Original Sin, am I correct if I make the bold sentence become like this "By reason of the fact that Adam & Eve sin, human (including Adam and Eve) are sinners" ? Please CMIIW. – karma Nov 14 '19 at 15:15
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    @karma. I have deleted the reference to Original Sin. I don't need that example and there's all the more reason to remove it if it has caused unnecessary uncertainty. Much appreciate your comment. Hope this clears things up. Best - Geoff – Geoffrey Thomas Nov 14 '19 at 15:20
  • @GeoffreyThomas, OK I understand that. Thank you once again for your answer. – karma Nov 14 '19 at 15:23
  • Karma. No problem. Any confusion was entirely my fault. Look forward to your future questions and (I hope) answers. Best - Geoff – Geoffrey Thomas Nov 14 '19 at 15:24
  • This answer doesn't really address the intended meaning and spirit of the quote at all, and mis-attributes it to karma theirself rather than whatever source karma found the sentence in. – Beanluc Nov 14 '19 at 18:04
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The examples are not analogous. "Carnivore is that which eats meat" is a definitional convention, analogous to "bachelor is an unmarried man", a classical example of analytic statement. But it usually takes more than a one time stealing to be properly called a "thief".

The newspaper applies the label to Mr. X loosely, but it is usually clear from context that they can not know much about Mr. X for sure, so the readers take it in kind and it does not lead to a confusion. The same goes for using "Diva" beyond its valid application. This sort of relying on the audience to disambiguate the meaning of expressions (names and labels, in particular) based on context is well-known in linguistics, and is captured by distinguishing semantics and pragmatics of meaning.

"We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners" is different. See “I have lied but I am not a liar, and I have done bad things but I am not a bad man” (from Michael's Cohen's testimony before the Congress) for a recent example of drawing the distinction. In Michael Cohen’s verbal somersault Mercieca gives an analysis that brings up the OP question:

"Cohen relied on the argumentative strategy of dissociation – it’s not this, it’s that – to carefully separate his actions from his essence and Trump’s actions from Trump’s essence. According to this strategy a person who lies is not necessarily a liar; a person who does bad things is not necessarily a bad person. The strategy invites audiences to separate the elements of an apparent unity – the person who does the thing is the thing – so that each can be judged separately... Is a person a liar because they lie? Is a person kind because they appear to be kind? Should we dissociate the quality of the person from their actions?"

The sinners quote arguably refers to our constant sinning, so it would still be analytic. As such, both directions are tautologically valid, but only if "because" is used in its deflated sense attachable to any valid inference, including definitional tautologies. However, it is not used in this sense in the quote. It is rather the etymologically original sense, which comes from abbreviating "by cause of" and indicates the direction of causation. And causation can validly go in only one direction. The claim is that our sinning is caused by our sinful essence, which is the content of the Christian doctrine of the original sin, and there is no dissociating from that.

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  • You wrote : "The claim is that our sinning is caused by our sinful essence", if I may paraphrase "The claim is that everyone's sinning is caused by everyone's sinful essence" . Knowing that some Christian hold that the first pair human is Adam and Eve besides Original Sin, this made me conclude "then Eve's sinning (eat the fruit) is caused by Eve's sinful essence" which of course I know the Christian won't accept it :). BTW, is "deflated" can mean also "exaggerated" ? (sorry I'm not from an English speaking country). Thank you for your answer and the link, Conifold. I will read your link. – karma Nov 14 '19 at 10:50
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    @karma In Christianity it is more metaphysical than that: Adam and Eve fell from grace by turning their free will to evil, and this burden, the original sin, was passed over to all their descendants, us. They sinned because they chose to sin, but for us there is this additional causal factor that bends us towards it, although we could, with God's help, overcome it. "Deflated" means hollowed out, in philosophy, diminished in significance, made generic. – Conifold Nov 14 '19 at 11:40
  • Thank you for your explanation about "Deflated", Conifold. I also have read your "analytic statement" link. To be honest, it made me headache :). About my question here, actually I want to avoid "Original Sin" as much as possible. I want to know first, is it possible to derive a sentence something like this : one is not a thief because he/she steal - one steal because he/she is a thief <----> the animal is not a carnivore because it eats meat, the animal eat meats because it is a carnivore. But it seems my examples are not analogous with the first paragraph in my question :). – karma Nov 14 '19 at 15:51
  • @karma If we use "because" in the strong sense then one certainly can not be a thief because they steal, that confuses cause and effect. It may be that there is some underlying psychological/ethical trait that causes them to steal, and we could say that they steal by-cause of it. But already Moliere mocked making up such causes indiscriminately instead of investigating real causes:"Why opium puts you to sleep? Because it has a sleep-inducing power, whose nature is to lull the senses to sleep". The real cause is a chemical in it. – Conifold Nov 14 '19 at 18:51
  • I understand what you explain, Conifold. If I use "a meat eating animal" instead of "a carnivore", then I think the sentence like this : "a meat eating animal eats meat" <---> "a sinning person do sin". And I think this is what you mean on Tautology ? Please CMIIW. – karma Nov 15 '19 at 15:49
6

You're focusing on wordplay and missing the intended meaning and spirit of the sentence you quoted or paraphrased.

It refers to the belief of some Christians that no human is not "a sinner", whether they have yet sinned or not. With the exception of those who attained grace and sin no more, despite having sinned previously.

You're not supposed to parse it out and figure out if the words make sense or not, if it's contradictory or logically consistent or any of that, you're supposed to simply understand that the writer was representing that concept. You figured out that it was referring to original-sin, you should have just stopped there.

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I'll confess that this question irks me. The concept of 'sin' — as an element of moral reasoning — is a proscription. It is meant to outline behaviors and attitudes which a moral agent should avoid. it was never meant to translate into a personal identification. Asserting that someone is a 'sinner' implies one of two things:

  • That this person is not a moral agent at all, or...
  • That this person is a moral agent who consistently chooses to the wrong act.

Neither of those implications are consistent with the original moral intent of the concept.

No one is a sinner. Sometimes people sin, and they should learn from that mistake, so they don't do it again.

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    Isn't it no different than calling someone who frequently lies a liar? A lie isn't a personal identification; but you can still call one who lies a liar. If sin is what you proscribe to "the behaviors and attitudes which moral agents should avoid", exhibiting those behaviors and attitudes should still make you a "sinner" by conventional reasoning. A liar to one person may not be a liar by another persons standards; but it doesn't mean that "no one is a liar". – JMac Nov 14 '19 at 21:27
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    "[sin] was never meant to translate into a personal identification" - by what credential do you purport to know the intent of a moral and religious term? The proscriptive definition is overly narrow and therefore incorrect. The highest two commandments in religious and moral Scripture are prescriptive, not proscriptive. – pygosceles Nov 14 '19 at 22:26
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    @JMac — calling someone a 'liar' is an identification; you are establishing in language that this person lies as a character trait, as opposed to merely having lied on certain occasions. You are missing the distinction between a disposition and a contextually determined behavior. Look up the fundamental attribution error... – Ted Wrigley Nov 15 '19 at 6:09
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    @pygosceles — people who use their minds don't bother with credentials; they don't need to. And I don't really see how the proscriptive/prescriptive distinction gains you any traction here, unless you are prescribing that 'sin' is nature. inevitable, and desirable... – Ted Wrigley Nov 15 '19 at 6:12
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    I would say that assigning a negative character trait to another (or worse, assigning a negative character trait to oneself) is at best biased and at worst bigoted. We have a choice to make: (1) assume people are intrinsically good but prone to error, or (2) assume people are intrinsically corrupt. Calling people sinners presumes the latter; I choose to believe the former. – Ted Wrigley Nov 15 '19 at 15:21
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Every religious and cultural group has a different conception of what constitutes a “sin.” In addition, the number of sins one must commit in order to be considered a “sinner”—i.e., a person defined by the singular quality of committing sins—is a subjective judgment that will vary by individual even when considered within a group with a shared understanding of what constitutes a sin. Finally, people will view “sinful” acts differently depending on whether they are willing to consider the context in which those acts took place or not. So I think there is no universal (“correct”) answer to the question, as the answer is inevitably framed within the context of individually determined conceptions of sin.

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Since this is a question about words and meaning, I would look first at what the words used actually mean.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/Sin

"Sin" is rooted in ancient words meaning "guilty of a transgression". Viewed in that meaning, it becomes trivially obvious that the deed comes first. You cannot be guilty of something that you did not commit yet, and you don't do things because you are guilty of them, that reversal defies logic.

More importantly, it becomes clear that the words was essentially made to label a person and their behaviour. A transgression is an action. Unlike skin colour or gender, it is something that is done, and thus you must do it before the label applies to you.

The meaning behind the quoted phrase, of course, is that sinners inherently tend toward sin. The idea is that a person is a murderer before he actually killed anyone, he "had it in him", it just wasn't visible before.

That logic goes against our current belief in the nature of humanity where we largely think that self-control is possible and people should be judged by what they did, not what they thought. But the concept of sin in the christian sense, explicitly includes what we would call thought-crime.

So the clash between these two meanings is not one of semantics, but of world-views. Do you believe that someone is a thief in his heart and just didn't steal yet? Or do you believe that all humans are capable of every good or evil act and should be judged by what they actually do or don't do?

Taken to the extreme, one position states that either you are a thief or you are not, meaning that if you are then you will steal, now or later. I can disprove that instantly - show me a thief who didn't steal yet. I will murder him right then and there. Is he still a thief or not? He never stole anything in his life. How can you claim that he is a thief?

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We are, by definition, "sinners" after we win, but "we sin because we're sinners", needs to be understood in the context of eating the apple.

Eating the apple took us out of GODs perfection and allowed us to think for ourselves (you'll note the first act was self-awareness: "And they realized they were naked."). This made us imperfect since we did not create the perfection of Creation.

Being imperfect means that we will sin, until, possibly, we become perfect again, either with the journey of the apple (my position) or without it (many Christians).

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    +1 for addressing the source material's probable context: original sin. – David Diaz Nov 15 '19 at 6:19
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I'm going to have to go the other way. If we do not sin, we are not sinners. Jesus was born a man and thus if we accept Conifold's answer of original sin being passed down, then he too was a sinner even though he did not sin (it's also possible I misunderstood Conifold's answer - it was hard for me to follow.)

I find the concept of Jesus being a sinner illogical so I must conclude that we are sinners only because we sin - not because it is passed down to us from the original sin of Eve.

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  • Historically and culturally, inheritances went from father to son. Joseph was not Jesus' biological father, rather Jesus was adopted by Joseph. So Jesus would not have inherited Joseph's sinfulness. Instead, God was Jesus' father so Jesus inherited holiness instead of sinfulness. – Aaron Nov 14 '19 at 22:33
  • @Aaron, I hadn't thought of it that way before. I always took it that he was a 'man' and because he lived a perfect life as a man he showed us we could too if we rejected satan. Interesting insight. – CramerTV Nov 15 '19 at 0:22
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    I made my previous comment as if it were simply fact, but the truth is that there are many different beliefs within Christianity. I think most of the Christian denominations believe what I stated in my previous comment. There are some, however, which believe that other people can be righteous and become gods like Jesus, which is closer to what you said. It all depends on which group you ask. The "Jesus is God" group just happens to be the majority. Whichever way may be correct, I just hope and assume God is merciful enough to forgive us if we mistakenly choose the wrong one. – Aaron Nov 15 '19 at 2:00
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This question boils down to the definition of sinner. Is a sinner someone who:

  • Has a nature that inclines them to commit sin or desire sinful things? Or,
  • Has actually committed a sin?

Seems to me that different religions and different traditions may define sinner differently. Or they may be ambiguous and imply both definitions in different places. The distinction may be particular hard to dissect out when:

  • inclination to sin could be a sin itself (e.g. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's such-and-such.")
  • The sins of your ancestors "count against you" even if you have not personally committed them.

My advice:

  • In your own intercourse, avoid ambiguous terms such as "sinner" and instead use the more specific phrases such as "someone who has committed a sin" or "someone who is inclined to sin" or "someone who must be redeemed for the sins of their ancestors." Avoid words like "thief" when they have multiple meanings. Specify whether you are referring to "someone who is inclined to steal" vs. "someone who has stolen."
  • When reading someone else's writing be aware of the different definitions and attempt to use context and other clues to determine which meaning they are writing about. When that's not possible, accept that their usage is ambiguous (or requires more education on their tradition).
  • When listening to a speaker, ask them what meaning they intend (if their meaning is not clear from context and questions from the audience are permitted).
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Firstly, we do sin because we are sinners, is the most true phrase, but, secondly, we can consider both phrases as true as follows:

  • Considering inclination to do sin, so we do sin because we are sinners.

  • Considering the fact we can't described as sinners until we do a sin, so we are sinners because we committed a sin.

Thus, psychologically lead to the first, i.e: we do sin because we are sinners.

Criminologically lead to the second, i.e: we are sinners because we committed a sin.

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0

I think the confusion stems from a misunderstanding of the word Sinner.

The term Sinner, in my opinion, only defines people who have already commited an act that's considered a sin

In other words, Sinners are not defined by the possibility of an act occurring, but only acts that have occurred

You can't compare it to the carnivore and eating meat analogy, because a carnivore describes an trait of only being able to consume meat. The defination of Carnivore, is used to describe things with a certain trait as opposed to an action.

Also, in that regard, both phrases don't really apply to the definition on Sinner, as it implies sin is a trait of people, rather than an action independent the person of interest

  • "We are sinners because we sin", should be "We are sinners because we have sinned"
  • "We sin because we are sinners", should be "Because we have sinned, we are sinners"

This argument might still apply if you're talking about mortal sin, as I think that just happens when you are born

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  • "carnivore describes an trait of only being able to consume meat" At least some (all? I don't know) carnivores are capable of eating vegetables; they are not able to consume only meat. Likewise, herbivores (some? all? I don't know) are capable of eating meat. They generally do not, but they will if they are starving or if it is prepared so that they don't know what it is. They might not digest it as well perhaps, and they might not prefer it, but they are able. – Aaron Nov 14 '19 at 22:29
  • Welcome to SE Philosophy, and thanks for contributing with a question/response! If you haven't done so, please take a quick moment to take the tour. philosophy.stackexchange.com/tour More specifics can be found in the help center. philosophy.stackexchange.com/help – J D Nov 14 '19 at 23:43
  • @Aaron: The term carnivore describes a physical trait whilst sinner describes an ethical trait. The two terms aren't consonant and can't be really compared. The difference is a difference of quality and not of degree. – Mozibur Ullah Nov 15 '19 at 11:27
  • @MoziburUllah Perhaps you meant to tag TPSEE_23? I was not the one who made the carnivore/sinner comparison. – Aaron Nov 15 '19 at 21:54
  • @aaron: It wasn't directed at TPSEE_23 but at your comment; but you are right in that my comment was somewhat misdirected in that it didn't tackle the substance of your comment - which I note is only stating the obvious with regards to the definition of carnivore. – Mozibur Ullah Nov 17 '19 at 10:56
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is it because (before anything happen) Mr.X is already a thief "metaphysically"?

If it was intentional, then Yes in an immediate and conscious sense, but otherwise No in the more important long-term or "identity" sense, as of when he hadn't intended to do it.

Important to note:

  1. People change. Things can change too, but they lack intent. Therefore identities are capable of transformation.

  2. Action precedes transformation of status and/or identity, but status and identity also influence action.

Let's borrow a concept from computer programming - Duck Typing. Loosely, Duck Typing says, "If it does Thing A, It must be a Thing-A-Doer", or concretely, "If it sins, it's a sinner". It is the simple convention of upgrading a verb or attribute to a noun.

By this convention, Action precedes the transformation of Being.

If you have lots of money, you are rich. You do not have money as a consequence of being rich. The action drives the state.

We can also borrow from Spanish, which has two main verbs for "to be": ser and estar. Use ser to indicate identity, profession, or other long-term conditions, such as, "My name is...", "I am American", etc. Use estar to indicate temporary conditions or statuses, such as "I am sick", or "he is over there".

Transient statuses do not remain, and the differences between status and identity is that the activities associated with the former will cease once the condition has ended, while the latter persists and does not recur or end with changing circumstances.

Then we have a simple cycle:

  1. Doing leads to Being.
  2. Being then leads to more Doing.

That is, if it quacks, it's a duck, and the more ducklike it becomes, the more it quacks. The relationship between state and transformation is self-reinforcing.

Another analogy, this time from physics: An accelerating magnetic field induces an electrical current. An accelerating electrical current can also induce a change in the magnetic field. By flowing electricity in a loop around an iron rod, the rod becomes temporarily magnetized. After electricity has flowed around it, it "is" a magnet. Not only is it a magnet, but it now induces electrical flow in nearby electrical conductors whenever it accelerates. This shows that the completed cycle of "do->be->do" is physically valid.

If you want some additional nuance for human actors above the two-step circuit above, thought precedes action, so yes, a person becomes a thief by intent even before the completed action. However, without evidence either of intent or completed action, the identity or status designation is not apparently deserved or applicable.

So an expanded cycle for an intentional actor introduces another (you might say metaphysical) stage:

  1. Thinking leads to Doing.
  2. Persistent Doing leads to Becoming.
  3. Being influences how we think,
  4. How we think determines how we act.

Interestingly, beings who think and act have the power to transform their identities over time, which is both a blessing and a warning regarding our behaviors.

All of which confirms Jesus's saying "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he".

Due to the real nature of identity and persistent properties, any phenomenon that has not been fully reversed can safely be assumed to be part of a longer-term identity. In your example, it cannot be refuted that the man is a thief if he has stolen and has not repented and made full restitution and compliance with the requirements of the law. However, if the action can be demonstrated to be transient (he has fully repented, made full restitution, complied with the full demands of the law, and does not do it anymore, and his intentions are remitted and repaired through Divine grace), then one cannot make the case that he is a thief any longer.

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    The cycle of "do-be-do-be-do" has perhaps best been explored in the works of Frank Sinatra. – Monty Harder Nov 14 '19 at 23:36
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As I write this sentence, I become this sentence's writer. On the other hand, a writer writes books because that is his profession (but not mine). Language is flexible. You have substantives and verbs, but the relation between them is not always well defined. Your thief might have stolen once to save a live, or because he is a thief at heart.

So we have to look for context. The quote

We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners.

is ascribed to R. C. Sproul, a Reformed theologian. We can find it in his book, What is Reformed Theology? : Understanding the Basics, in the context of an explanation of total deprapivity, one of the five points of Calvinism. I will provide only a little conext, you can read more on Google Books.

The term total deprapvity, as distinguished from utter depravity, refers to the effect of sin and corruption on the whole person. To be totally depraved is to suffer from corruption that pervades the whole person. Sin affects every aspect of our being: the body, the soul, the mind, the will, and so forth. The total or whole person is corrupted by sin. ...

Jesus frequently described this condition with images from nature. Just as a corrupt tree yields corrupt fruit, so sin flows out of a corrupt human nature. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.

More context:

Depending on world view and even on Christian denomination, man is seen as essentially good or sinful, and sin is either a fundamental problem or merely a (more or less) foul deed.

The doctrine of total deprivation says that man is so corrupted that he can not even see his own corruption. The quote reflects this view, and that is the answer to your main question for this context.

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The answer depends on the context.

  1. If this was a Stack Exchange site related to Christianity specifically then the answer would be "both".

If you had to decide whether the chicken or the egg came first then the Christian concept of original sin indicates that, 'at heart' - "we sin because we are sinners".

As a committed Christian, and without having any difficulty in acknowledging that I am a sinner (Are you MAD? !!!) , I nevertheless personally have significant difficulty with the concept of original sin.
But, that's "standard model".

  1. Viewed from an external-God-independent point of view then 'we are sinners because we sin'.

It makes no 'sense' in such a context to call a just-born child (or an unborn child) a sinner.
They have not "sinned".
They are unable at that stage to sin in any sense that the word is intended in this context.

We can state, essentially with probabilistic certainty, based on all prior samples, that the child WILL sin.
Even this is not "certain", even though it's certain :-).

________________________

Added:

A carnivore is "designed" to be one.
A biologist examining a dead carnivore that was previously unknown would know 'at a glance' that it was a carnivore. There are many references which describe the specific charcteristics of a carnivore but this simple description form here is useful

  • " ... Most carnivores have long, sharp teeth adapted to ripping, tearing or cutting flesh. While many also possess a few molars in the back of their mouths, and sharp incisors in the front, the most important teeth for carnivores are their long, sharp canine teeth. Carnivores drive these teeth through the flesh of their prey with the help of very large temporalis muscles, which are responsible for pulling the lower jaw upwards and backwards towards the skull. The temporalis muscles attach to the jaw at one end, and the top of the skull at the other end. ..."

A sinner has no such visible "design" features.

While experience indicates, as noted, that in situations where the concept of "sin" is meaningful, 'recent' observations indicate that 100% of people are found to sin, it still makes no sense to call a person a sinner based on any 'measureable' aspect of their 'design'.

Sin only 'makes sense' in a context where the relationship to God and right behaviour is understood and accepted. Unlike carnivores, whose characteristics are designed-in at birth (even though claws and teeth are not yet visible), there is no discernible human characteristic or attribute at birth which could not as equally be turned to the pure pursuit of the glory of God as to disobedience.

Only by invoking 'karma' (which concept I personally find intensely abhorrent) or "original sin" (which I'm not at all comfortable with) can you suggest any at-birth carnivore-sinner similarity.

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  • Thank you for the answer, Russel. You wrote "It makes no 'sense' in such a context to call a just-born child (or an unborn child) a sinner". That's why I use "carnivore" as the example. It's still make sense a baby lion (has not eat meat yet) to be called a carnivore. To me, a meat eating animal is a meat eating animal ... it doesn't have to be "eat meat causing the animal a carnivore" although from the point of view the observer, the observer need to know it first that the animal regularly eat meat. Then logically Adam and Eve a sinner before do any sin. – karma Nov 15 '19 at 15:24

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