Schleiermacher and the Transmission of Sin

A Biocultural Evolutionary Model


  • Helen De Cruz Saint Louis University
  • Johan De Smedt Saint Louis University



Friedrich Schleiermacher, Biocultural evolution, Original sin, the Fall, Hamartiology.


Understanding the pervasiveness of sin is central to Christian theology. The question of why humans are so sinful given an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God presents a challenge and a puzzle. Here, we investigate Friedrich Schleiermacher’s biocultural evolutionary account of sin. We look at empirical evidence to support it and use the cultural Price equation to provide a naturalistic model of the transmission of sin. This model can help us understand how sin can be ubiquitous and unavoidable, even though it is not biologically transmitted, and even if there is no historical Fall that precipitated the tendency to sin.




How to Cite

De Cruz, H., & De Smedt, J. (2023). Schleiermacher and the Transmission of Sin: A Biocultural Evolutionary Model. TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, 7(2), 59–86.