Thirdly, children after their birth are in the state of Adam before their fall; they are innocent. But of course Pelagicus could not close his eyes to the fact that the evil surroundings and customs distort their innocence. He follows a modern tendency, namely the psychoanalytic theory of the relationship to the parents, or their representatives, which decide about all the complexes and other negativities which are in the depths of the soul and come to it through the surroundings. There is even today another theory, the biological theory, that the distortion is inherited and cannot be avoided even in terms of the best surroundings you can provide for a child; there is something in its very nature, (from birth.) Here you have a modern restatement of this old struggle, Pelagicus using the psychoanalytic theory in order to avoid the idea of hereditary sin.
Fourthly, before Christ some people were without sin, and :after Christ some people sin. Sin is not a universally tragic necessity, but it is a matter of freedom.
Here again you can say that the state of things in this country is very much in favor of this basic Pelagian idea that every individual can always make a new beginning, that he is able in terms of individual freedom to make decisions for or against the Divine. The tragic element of the human situation is very much known in Europe, but is not so near to the heart of the people in this country. On the other hand, in Europe the merely negative Augustinianism – we can call it Existentialism – -has made this human situation inescapable and has reduced the ethical zeal and impact Pelagianism can have.
Fifthly, the function of Christ under these circumstances is a double one: to provide the forgiveness of sins in baptism to those who believe, and to give an example of a sinless life not only by avoiding sins but also by avoiding the occasions of sins, through asceticism – Jesus, the first monk; Pelagicus himself was a monk. He gives the example of an ascetic life, thus avoiding the occasions for sins, and not only the actual sins when the occasion is given.