Some thoughts on Original Sin

Thomas

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Why does man suffer?

Original Sin is probably one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Church. It emerged, as a doctrine, from the Apostolic Teaching, and in the works of the Fathers from the contemplation of that Teaching and of Scripture.

The usual view of Original Sin is as a punishment upon humanity for the error of its parent, an assumption which is not theologically correct, nor philosophically precise. Most people reject the idea of original sin from the sentimental notion of how cruel to condemn innocent babies, etc. and certainly there were some statements made — about the eschatalogical condition of unbaptised babies perhaps the most famous of those made during the Medieval era — which were not doctrine then, and have been revised since.

+++

According to Tradition:
If Adam and Eve acted according to their nature, then there is no sin.
If Adam and Eve acted out of free will, knowingly disobeying the commandment given to them, and thus contrary to nature (which is believed as ordered towards the good), then they have sinned.

Then suffering is an inescapable consequence, if justice is to have any meaning at all.

+++

Catholicism holds that:
1 - God made man, and He saw His creation was 'very good'.
2 - God and man dwelt together in a paradisical state.
3 - Man transgressed a Divine commandment, knowingly, and of his own volition.
4 - Justice inevitably followed.
5 - The paradisical state was lost.

There post-paradisic condition, as detailed in Genesis 3, is the inevitable consequence of their action.

Catholicism assumes, that:
1 - Because human nature is deiform — created to know God and
2 - Because man does not know the Beatific Vision, and finds its requirement all but impossible to fulfill, then
3 - Something effects that nature and prevents its fulfillment.

Why does man suffer?

+++

Why is not man born into the beatific vision? Why is man born, bound in darkness, ignorance and suffering?

What prevents us from realising the beatific vision, if not an action of our own doing? Bearing in mind that to sin requires the knowing and willing freely-taken decision of a rational being, and that 'children' are not born with a fully-formed sense of responsibility, with the capacity to make informed moral and ethic choices, then again children cannot sin and cannot be held guilty of sinning.

But then why are we as children not born into the beatific vision, and stay there?

+++

If Adam and Eve sinned, and God decides to punish the whole of humanity for ever more, then God does not qualify to be called either 'just' or 'good' by any objective measure. Certainly not in any absolute sense of the term. That God is free to do as God wills is a given, but that does not immediately determine that what God does is either 'just' or 'good'.

Assuming God is both Just and Good in an absolute sense, and assuming therefore that humanity is not born under any punitive limitation, then we should be born in paradise.

But we're not. So what does that tell us?

Either:
1 - God is flawed, or
2 - Creation is flawed, or
3 - A flaw has been introduced that effects all that flows from it.

+++

This begins to approach the idea behind the doctrine, an idea that can only be properly contemplated if one avoids sentiment and focusses on the objective situation: Man suffers,
Not through God's will,
Nor through his own choice ...

... but suffers the consequence of some calamitous accident.

Catholic doctrine believes that this consequence is a 'wound' or a disordering of human nature that is transmitted from one generation to the next (like a genetic disorder or an inherited disposition). Adam sinned, and in Adam it seems we are incapable of not sinning, we are incapable of altriusm as a natural condition, and Catholic doctrine holds that unless we determine God as a being subject to vice, or rather, a being presenting less than the fullness of virtue, then there must be some order of transmission of fault, and there must be some order of participation in that fault, lest agin God is punishing the innocent for a crime for which they bear no responsibility.

Note:
As warm to Orthodox theology as I am, I find the Orthodox theology of Original Sin insufficient. The Orthodox hold that we are born under the impediment of sin, but not complicit in it. A simple analogy I have seen is akin to the family of a criminal, wherein the family suffers because of the crime of the father ... I find this oversimple and too anthropomorphic ... we must assume that God can distinguish between the guilt of a father and the innocence of the child ... society certainly does. Perhaps someone could explain this better for me.

Thomas
 
Either:
1 - God is flawed, or
2 - Creation is flawed, or
3 - A flaw has been introduced that effects all that flows from it.

Note:
As warm to Orthodox theology as I am, I find the Orthodox theology of Original Sin insufficient. The Orthodox hold that we are born under the impediment of sin, but not complicit in it. A simple analogy I have seen is akin to the family of a criminal, wherein the family suffers because of the crime of the father ... I find this oversimple and too anthropomorphic ... we must assume that God can distinguish between the guilt of a father and the innocence of the child ... society certainly does. Perhaps someone could explain this better for me.

Thomas

The fall from glory is our choosing things other than choosing God. Choice is not a flaw, it is what makes us human. God wants us to choose to love him, and not be forced. i would say trying to use the word flaw is what needs to go. god is not flawed for giving us choice, we are not flawed for having choice, and choice itself is not a flaw. What is wrong with this picture is what we do with it, as Christ the man has showed us what is possible. i see choice like our hands or our voices. they are not flaws, but enable us as humans to create beauty and others to create evil.

as far as original sin, that innocence of being naked, being fed by nature, walking and talking with God, and living in paradise is gone. that original setup is no longer available, because of that sin, our consciousness was changed because of what we as humans do. and as a righteous and holy god, being kicked out of the garden and death is the judgment on man because we all choose to do things other than what God wants. There is not one man that has ever done all that God asks, but Jesus Christ. So having said that, it is fair to say that we continue the same errors as adam and eve, we continue to be tempted and give in, we continue to live in a state of consciousness that is apart from God unlike it was in the very very beginning. but one day will be with Christ and that consciousness will be changed again, and we will be with God forever.

maybe you can look at original sin like lending people money. maybe at one time you were naive in thinking you could lend a friend some money, but they didnt pay you back ever. so you said to yourself i will never loan out money again to anyone. it isn't a new friends personal crime against you that causes them to not be able to borrow money from you if they ask, but your judgment of people in general and how you will deal with this issue which causes everyone to fall into the same category--friends and money dont mix.
 
Hi all,

I think i had mentioned this quite a while ago, here's how I see it...

The sequence of God’s plan of salvation for mankind is most important—First is the physical and then comes the spiritual.
It is universally taught (and believed) that Adam and Eve were already formed and created in the very spiritual image of God way back in the garden. This is not, however, how the Hebrew manuscripts read, as a perfect creature formed in the very spiritual image of God, that not only does not sin, but cannot sin. The reason that Jesus (made unto sinful flesh) did not sin, was not that He could not sin, but rather His Father WOULD NOT LET HIM SIN. Jesus was born with a physical body, and therefore that body had to die. But I assure you that Jesus did not possess a "carnal mind" in that body of flesh. He sinned NOT.

Making mankind into God’s own Image is a process that involves a lifetime of trials and tribulations that includes the crucifying and mortifying of the carnal human mind and body. I realize that from the King James and many modern translations it sounds like it was a "past tense" made in His image at creation, but actually it was not. Gen. 1:26-27 is equivalent to our English imperfect. Here is how one Version translates it:

"And saying is God, Make WILL WE [a continuing action] humanity in Our image…"

and

"And CREATING [a continuing action] is God humanity in His image" (Gen. 1:26a & 27a Concordant Literal Old Testament),

Basically what iam saying is that this is the necessary process for spiritual enlightment

 
Hi BlaznFattyz —

The fall from glory is our choosing things other than choosing God. Choice is not a flaw, it is what makes us human.
Agreed. The reasoning behind our choices might well be flawed ... I hold that because we are human does not mean sin is an inevitability.

God wants us to choose to love him, and not be forced.
Ah! That's the thing, isn't it? God wants us to be good, for its own sake ... we choose to be naughty, to express our individuality.

... the word flaw is what needs to go. god is not flawed for giving us choice, we are not flawed for having choice, and choice itself is not a flaw. What is wrong with this picture is what we do with it
That's my point, it's the choices we make and the reason why we make them there's the flaw — in our reasoning — and yet our reasoning faculty is not in itself flawed, nor is it uninformed.

and as a righteous and holy god, being kicked out of the garden and death is the judgment on man because we all choose to do things other than what God wants.
I'm not so sure ... I don't think God punishes us because he's angry that we disobey him, rather the punishment is the inevitable outcome of the choices we made, which is why he said 'don't go there'.

I tell my kids not to run across the road, and if they do, I get angry, but my anger is not because they disobeyed me, but because running across the road gets you killed.

Allow an analogy — say the fruit is highly addictive, and toxic, and eventually fatal. So the gardener says, 'anything you like, but not that, it's not good for you' ... What does he know? He's only saying that cos he wants it for himself ... so you eat the fruit, and become addicted ... and the gardener says, right, I'm kicking you out the garden for your own benefit, cos as long as you're here you will eat that fruit ...

There is not one man that has ever done all that God asks, but Jesus Christ.
Not so sure.

... it is fair to say that we continue the same errors as adam and eve, we continue to be tempted and give in, we continue to live in a state of consciousness that is apart from God unlike it was in the very very beginning.
Hence Catholicism believes we participate in the sin (because we participate in a corrupted human nature), we are not innocent victims of sin.

but one day will be with Christ and that consciousness will be changed again, and we will be with God forever.
Speed the day!

Thomas
 
Hi Azure24 —

The sequence of God’s plan of salvation for mankind is most important — First is the physical and then comes the spiritual.
This isn't how Scripture views man, however. Man is body and soul, spirit and matter, man is both. The physical is a manifestation of the spiritual, the body is the form of the soul in the material world. However, salvation comes from the top down — through the spirit to the flesh.

It is universally taught (and believed) that Adam and Eve were already formed ...
'already' in relation to what, exactly?

and created in the very spiritual image of God way back in the garden.
Yes.

This is not, however, how the Hebrew manuscripts read...
Is it not? Then what universal teaching, and belief, are you referring to? And how does it differ?

as a perfect creature formed in the very spiritual image of God, that not only does not sin, but cannot sin.
Lost me now ... what teachings are you working from?

The reason that Jesus (made unto sinful flesh) did not sin, was not that He could not sin, but rather His Father WOULD NOT LET HIM SIN.
No. Absolutely not the case.

Jesus was born with a physical body, and therefore that body had to die. But I assure you that Jesus did not possess a "carnal mind" in that body of flesh. He sinned NOT.
You can assure me all you like, but let me assure you that according to Scripture and Tradition, I have no idea what you are talking about. If you want me to show you where, you'll have to tell me what kind of mind you're talking about.

Making mankind into God’s own Image is a process that involves a lifetime of trials and tribulations that includes the crucifying and mortifying of the carnal human mind and body.
Why? Are you saying that God is not very good at creating?

I realize that from the King James and many modern translations it sounds like it was a "past tense" made in His image at creation, but actually it was not. Gen. 1:26-27 is equivalent to our English imperfect. Here is how one Version translates it:

"And saying is God, Make WILL WE [a continuing action] humanity in Our image and CREATING [a continuing action] is God humanity in His image" (Gen. 1:26a & 27a Concordant Literal Old Testament),
That's truly clunky, isn't it? That's why we have scholars, and that's why direct literal translations don't work ... I've used the web to translate French into English, and the result is a mess ... from scriptural Hebrew is even harder. That's where Tradition comes in really handy.

Nevertheless, a translation is a translation that the translator thinks is most accurate, but it is not the absolute and only possible translation, I doubt a purely technical translation is possible, without some input from the translator. To assume a technical translation is the correct one is to look from the letter, and not the spirit.

I have seen scholars argue over a phrase in Greek from the philosophers, and one international authority on the subject told me he laboured for over an hour on one phrase, which requires reference to the text and context as well as the corpus of works of the author to get a feel for his style, and still others he respected saw things differently.

Basically what i am saying is that this is the necessary process for spiritual enlightment

Everybody is entitles to think and believe as they like, but I'm discussing a Catholic doctrine from a Catholic perspective. I'm not sure where you're coming from ... nor what you're adding to the debate?

Thomas
 
I'm not so sure ... I don't think God punishes us because he's angry that we disobey him, rather the punishment is the inevitable outcome of the choices we made, which is why he said 'don't go there'.

I tell my kids not to run across the road, and if they do, I get angry, but my anger is not because they disobeyed me, but because running across the road gets you killed.

Allow an analogy — say the fruit is highly addictive, and toxic, and eventually fatal. So the gardener says, 'anything you like, but not that, it's not good for you' ... What does he know? He's only saying that cos he wants it for himself ... so you eat the fruit, and become addicted ... and the gardener says, right, I'm kicking you out the garden for your own benefit, cos as long as you're here you will eat that fruit ...
i agree as well. good points.
 
Why does man suffer?

Original Sin is probably one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Church. It emerged, as a doctrine, from the Apostolic Teaching, and in the works of the Fathers from the contemplation of that Teaching and of Scripture.

The usual view of Original Sin is as a punishment upon humanity for the error of its parent, an assumption which is not theologically correct, nor philosophically precise. Most people reject the idea of original sin from the sentimental notion of how cruel to condemn innocent babies, etc. and certainly there were some statements made — about the eschatalogical condition of unbaptised babies perhaps the most famous of those made during the Medieval era — which were not doctrine then, and have been revised since.

+++

According to Tradition:
If Adam and Eve acted according to their nature, then there is no sin.
If Adam and Eve acted out of free will, knowingly disobeying the commandment given to them, and thus contrary to nature (which is believed as ordered towards the good), then they have sinned.

Then suffering is an inescapable consequence, if justice is to have any meaning at all.

+++

Catholicism holds that:
1 - God made man, and He saw His creation was 'very good'.
2 - God and man dwelt together in a paradisical state.
3 - Man transgressed a Divine commandment, knowingly, and of his own volition.
4 - Justice inevitably followed.
5 - The paradisical state was lost.

There post-paradisic condition, as detailed in Genesis 3, is the inevitable consequence of their action.

Catholicism assumes, that:
1 - Because human nature is deiform — created to know God and
2 - Because man does not know the Beatific Vision, and finds its requirement all but impossible to fulfill, then
3 - Something effects that nature and prevents its fulfillment.

Why does man suffer?

+++

Why is not man born into the beatific vision? Why is man born, bound in darkness, ignorance and suffering?

What prevents us from realising the beatific vision, if not an action of our own doing? Bearing in mind that to sin requires the knowing and willing freely-taken decision of a rational being, and that 'children' are not born with a fully-formed sense of responsibility, with the capacity to make informed moral and ethic choices, then again children cannot sin and cannot be held guilty of sinning.

But then why are we as children not born into the beatific vision, and stay there?

+++

If Adam and Eve sinned, and God decides to punish the whole of humanity for ever more, then God does not qualify to be called either 'just' or 'good' by any objective measure. Certainly not in any absolute sense of the term. That God is free to do as God wills is a given, but that does not immediately determine that what God does is either 'just' or 'good'.

Assuming God is both Just and Good in an absolute sense, and assuming therefore that humanity is not born under any punitive limitation, then we should be born in paradise.

But we're not. So what does that tell us?

Either:
1 - God is flawed, or
2 - Creation is flawed, or
3 - A flaw has been introduced that effects all that flows from it.

+++

This begins to approach the idea behind the doctrine, an idea that can only be properly contemplated if one avoids sentiment and focusses on the objective situation: Man suffers,
Not through God's will,
Nor through his own choice ...

... but suffers the consequence of some calamitous accident.

Catholic doctrine believes that this consequence is a 'wound' or a disordering of human nature that is transmitted from one generation to the next (like a genetic disorder or an inherited disposition). Adam sinned, and in Adam it seems we are incapable of not sinning, we are incapable of altriusm as a natural condition, and Catholic doctrine holds that unless we determine God as a being subject to vice, or rather, a being presenting less than the fullness of virtue, then there must be some order of transmission of fault, and there must be some order of participation in that fault, lest agin God is punishing the innocent for a crime for which they bear no responsibility.

Note:
As warm to Orthodox theology as I am, I find the Orthodox theology of Original Sin insufficient. The Orthodox hold that we are born under the impediment of sin, but not complicit in it. A simple analogy I have seen is akin to the family of a criminal, wherein the family suffers because of the crime of the father ... I find this oversimple and too anthropomorphic ... we must assume that God can distinguish between the guilt of a father and the innocence of the child ... society certainly does. Perhaps someone could explain this better for me.

Thomas
Thommy,

When your child first began to walk, and stumbled, you caught him/her right? But after awhile you realized he/she had to fall and pick themself back up, right?

What is so different between you, me and God the Father, concerning children? Sin is being off balance. Children start out off balance...:D
 
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