"Latin: Incurvatus in se" (Turned/curved inward on oneself) is a theological phrase describing a life lived "inward" for self rather than "outward" for God and others.
Paul the Apostle wrote of this condition in the Epistle to the Romans 7:15, 7:8-19:
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [...] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
It was perhaps Augustine of Hippo who first coined the phrase incurvatus in se. Martin Luther expounded on this in his Lectures on Romans and described this state as:
Our nature, by the corruption of the first sin, [being] so deeply curved in on itself that it not only bends the best gifts of God towards itself and enjoys them (as is plain in the works-righteous and hypocrites), or rather even uses God himself in order to attain these gifts, but it also fails to realize that it so wickedly, curvedly, and viciously seeks all things, even God, for its own sake."
This was later extended by Karl Barth to include other sins beyond pride. It is also believed that, even though people are justified by Jesus dying on the Cross, they still possess a propensity to sin against God because of this condition (i.e. simul justus et peccator).
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 04:56:38 -0800
On Homo Incurvatus in Se—Man Turned in on Himself—as and entry point for the discussion of sin in the 21st Century. When I speak on the subject, I use my hands a lot to describe how we get when we are turned in on ourselves and how this connects to ...
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:42:46 -0800
This basic posture of shameful, fearful defensiveness is what Augustine and Luther called homo incurvatus in se (“humanity curved inward on itself”). Basically, Adam and Eve's story illustrates the origin of humanity's preoccupation with the thing we ...
Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:26:15 -0800
At its heart is a spiritual disorder, what Martin Luther (borrowing a phrase from Augustine) described as incurvatus in se, “twisted back into one's self.” In our own era, we have seen the evisceration of those communities that sustain us during the ...
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:35:29 -0800
At its heart it's a spiritual disorder, what Martin Luther … and Augustine described as incurvatus in se, 'twisted back into one's self.' In our own era, we have seen the evisceration of those communities that sustain us during the most trying and ...
Tue, 11 Feb 2014 07:56:15 -0800
Otherwise it's just incurvatus in se. It's just another way of building myself up, buying my charity points.” Fr. Sirico: “And you see this in the Gospel, don't you? With the Pharisee who gives a tenth of his belongings and does it for everyone to see ...
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 09:18:45 -0700
Such is the default curved-in-on-itself position of the human heart, or what Augustine termed incurvatus in se. Perhaps you've heard this tendency expressed as a legalistic formula: "The reason for suffering and the lack of abundant life among ...
Fri, 30 Dec 2011 06:35:00 -0800
As I mentioned in a post last week, the biggest difference between the practical effect of sin and the practical effect of the gospel is that sin turns us inward (homo incurvatus in se) and the gospel turns us upward and outward. We were designed to ...
Evansville Courier & Press
Fri, 16 Jan 2009 22:07:49 -0800
Augustine, Luther and others used the Latin term "Homo incurvatus in se" to describe the fallen state of humankind. It means something like "Humanity curved in on itself." We often think of sin only in terms of bad deeds, such as lying, cheating and ...
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