Pelagius was an Irish monk. On his visit in Rome, he was so much scandalized when he saw people who identified themselves with Christ were still engaging in sin and living immoral lives. Their barbarian lifestyle provoked him. Upon his rebuke, those engaging in such immoral lifestyle responded, saying they could not resist or control their indulging desires. But he believed other way. So, he told them they had to resist themselves from lust and indulgence. God of the Scripture says, “Just do it.”
He believes that human beings have free will and thy are free to make choice of their own. Also, he believes that we are not fully dead (in the spirit) by the effect of sin, and we have to work for our salvation. Basically, he held the view that apart from faith in Christ, salvation is attained through work.
Augustine had a very high respect for Pelagius, as he was the man of his own words. Pelagius lived what he preached, but Augustine countered his wrongheaded doctrine of sin and salvation. He believed that we are fully dead in the spirit. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot help ourselves for salvation. Human beings have sinful nature by virtue of the totally deprived condition. We love to sin, so we sin. It’s not the case that we have to or want to sin. Our free will is tainted with sin in the fall. In this sense, we are free or have free will only to sin than seeking true God.
“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens… and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn … If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason.”
 Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, vol. 1 (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1982), chap. 19, v.39, p. 42.
Augustine records this “pear incident” in his Confession to rationally and empirically demonstrate why human beings voluntarily sin. We love to sin; so we make conscious decision to sin. He recalls this one particular incident of his childhood when his friends and he stole pears not to eat but to throw them away. So, he argues that we sin not because we have to but we love to sin.
This is coherent with the Scripture where Apostle Paul asserts in Romans 7:14-20 ESV
(14) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. (15) For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (16) Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. (17) So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (18) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (19) For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (20) Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
The enterprise of Faith Seeking Understanding is an attempt to better understand and articulate the truth found in the Scripture, not going beyond the Scritpure. It begins with the revelation of God in the Scripture. It is not merely an approach to turn our belief into knowledge but turning our faith-knowledge to understanding knowledge. Continue reading Biblical Nuggets: The Enterprise of Faith Seeking Understaning
“Why didn’t God make the world sooner? In the early fifth century AD, Augustine of Hippo answered that God did not make the universe at a point in time, but “simultaneously with time.” That is, he believed God had created space and time together. Modern cosmologists have come to agree that he was right about space and time, and therefore it is meaningless to ask why the big bang didn’t happen earlier than it did.”
 William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), p. 90.