Original Sin and Our Need for Redemption

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The Sin of Adam and Eve - by Domenichino - from Musée des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble

God the Father, borne by Cherubim and Angels, descends to Rebuke Adam, who blames Eve, who in turn points to the Serpent as the cause of their Fall from Grace. Animals still roam freely in their Earthly Paradise, but the Lion at the right is already Metamorphosing from a Friendly Feline to an Aggressive Beast.

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Man's First abuse of his Human Liberty/Freedom was by Adam and Eve.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Abortion is Man's Greatest Abuse of his Human Liberty/Freedom.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The spotless Lamb symbolizes Jesus Christ, Who will later be slain to Redeem Man from all the Abuses of his Human Freedom.
yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) The Serpent symbolizes Satan, who prowls the World seeking the Ruin of Souls.

 

Original Sin is not an 'Act', but a 'State'. The "State of Original Sin" is simply the Loss of Sanctifying Grace and the Preternatural Gifts which resulted from the Original Sin - the First Sin committed by the Human Race. As a result we Suffer, Die Physically, Struggle with Passions and Desires which our Wills are too Weak to Control, and have Minds which are Darkened by Sin requiring the Help of God, which comes to us as the Holy Spirit's Gift of Grace.

 

Original Sin and
Our Need for Redemption

from The Catholic Catechism
and various other sources

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Original Sin from the Catholic Catechism

CCC374 - The First Man was not only Created Good, but was also Established in Friendship with his Creator and in Harmony with himself, and with the Creation around him, in a State that would be Surpassed only by the Glory of the New Creation in Christ.

CCC375 - The Church, Interpreting the Symbolism of Biblical Language in an Authentic Way, in the Light of the New Testament and Tradition, Teaches that our First Parents, Adam and Eve, were Constituted-in an Original 'State of Holiness and Justice'. [Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511]. This Grace of Original Holiness was 'to share in . . . Divine Life' [Cf. LG 2.].

CCC376. By the Radiance of this Grace all Dimensions of Man's Life were Confirmed. As long as he Remained in the Divine Intimacy, Man would not have to Suffer or Die. [Cf. Genesis 2:17 ; Gen 3:16, 19 .] The Inner Harmony of the Human Person, the Harmony between Man and Woman, [Cf. Gen 2:25 .] and finally the Harmony between the First Couple and all Creation, Comprised the State called 'Original Justice'.

CCC379. This entire Harmony of Original Justice, foreseen for Man in God's Plan, will be Lost by the Sin of our First Parents.

CCC384. Revelation makes known to us the State of Original Holiness and Justice of Man and Woman before Sin: from their Friendship with God flowed the Happiness of their Existence in Paradise.

CCC387. Only the Light of Divine Revelation Clarifies the Reality of Sin and Particularly of the Sin Committed at Mankind's Origins. Without the Knowledge, Revelation gives of God, we cannot Recognize Sin Clearly and are Tempted to Explain it as merely a Developmental Flaw, a Psychological Weakness, a Mistake, or the necessary Consequence of an Inadequate Social Structure, etc. Only in the Knowledge of God's Plan for Man can we grasp that Sin is an Abuse of the 'Freedom' that God gives to Created Persons so that they are Capable of Loving Him and Loving one another.

lucifer2.gif (31255 bytes) CCC407. The Doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN, closely connected with that of Redemption by Christ, provides Lucid Discernment of Man's Situation and Activity in the World. By our First Parents' SIN, the Devil has acquired a certain Domination over Man, even though Man remains Free. ORIGINAL SIN entails 'Captivity under the Power of him who thenceforth had the Power of Death, that is, the Devil'. [Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. Hebrews 2:14]. Ignorance of the fact that Man has a Wounded Nature, Inclined to Evil, gives rise to Serious Errors in the Areas of Education, Politics, Social Action [Cf. John Paul II, CA 25.] and Morals.

 

What was lost by Original Sin

States of Man before, and after the Fall of our First Parents

States of Man >

Original Justice

Original Sin

After Redemption

Glorified Nature

Grace: >>
Intellect: >>

Infused Grace & Knowledge

Lost Grace -
Ignorance

Grace Restored -
Ignorance

Vision of God

Will: >>

Loving Obedience

Tends to Malice

Tends to Malice

Love Perfected

Emotions: >>

Spontaneous Virtue

Concupiscence

Concupiscence

Perfect Joy

Body: >>

Immortal

Suffering/Death

Suffering/Death

Immortal

Concupiscence = The Loss of the Harmony, Integrity, Coordination or Balance between Body and Soul. The Emotions of the Body are not Docile Servants of the Soul, but often Rebel against the limitations which Reason enlightened by Faith impose as the Norm of Action.

In the beginning, the Creator gave our First Parents, Adam and Eve, Three (3) Distinct Sets of Gifts:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Natural Gifts, such as Existence, Physical Bodies and Spiritual Souls made in the Divine Image. These Gifts are Essential to what we are; they make us Human.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) The Supernatural Gift of Sanctifying Grace, which Elevated them above their Finite Limitations so that they could Fellowship with the Infinite God.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Preternatural Gifts, such things as Physical Immortality, Freedom from Suffering, and Control over their Instincts and Drives.

So at their Creation, our First Parents enjoyed a Supernatural State of Communion ('Original Justice') with their Creator, as well as many other Benefits.

When they Disobeyed God's Command, they Cut-themselves-off from God, the Source of all Life. Thus they Forfeited Sanctifying Grace and Died Spiritually. As a result, we their Descendents are born Spiritually Dead (Ephesians 2:1), Bereft of Sanctifying Grace and Cut-off from Fellowship with the Living God. This is what the Church means when she says that Infants are "In a State of Original Sin"; not that Little Babies commit Sinful Acts In Utero, or are Tainted by their Parents' Sins or by the Sex Act. The "State of Original Sin" is simply the Lack-of Sanctifying Grace which Resulted from the Original Sin - the First Sin Committed by the Human Race.

Our First Parents also Forfeited all the Preternatural Gifts listed above, both for themselves and for their Descendents. As a Result we Suffer (Genesis 3:16,19), Die Physically (Romans 5:15), Struggle with Passions and Desires which our Wills are too Weak to Control (Romans 7:19-23), and have Minds which are Darkened by Sin (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:17-19).

Though they did not Lose the Natural Gifts (i.e. Existence), the Loss of Control over Passions and the Darkening of their Minds Adversely affected their Bodies and Souls, giving them a certain Inclination towards Evil Actions which they did not possess before the Fall. This Proclivity towards Sin, along with Physical Mortality and Suffering, are among the Secondary Aspects of Original Sin in the Human Race. But Original Sin Primarily consists in the Loss of Grace and Divine Communion.

So Catholics actually believe that the Human Race Fell from a Supernatural State of Life - giving Union with God to a purely Natural State, Devoid of Spiritual Life or Preternatural Gifts. The Fall did not Totally Corrupt our Nature; it merely Wounded it and Severed Fellowship with God, but these Things are not Irreparable. However, we still cannot Save Ourselves from this State, for we cannot Restore to ourselves the Sanctifying Grace which we Lost in the Fall. We can perform Natural Good Deeds, but they cannot Restore that Holy Quality to our Souls, for God alone can Restore that Divine Gift.

 

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The Crucifixion - by GRÜNEWALD, Matthias - from Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar

 

And God has Restored it to us. Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, Redeems us by His Cross and Resurrection and Applies the Sin-Cleansing Merits of His Suffering and Death to us through Baptism. He does not merely "Impute" His Righteousness to us, but actually makes us Holy, Righteous, New Creations by this Sacrament (2Corinthians 5:17). Through it we Die with Christ to Original Sin and are Raised to Eternal Life (Romans 6:2-11).

This is why Scripture says that Baptism now Saves us (1Peter 3:21), Washes away our Sins (Acts 22:16), Forgives Sin (Acts 2:38) and Regenerates us (Titus 3:5). Of course, the Water in-and-of itself cannot do these things, but when poured over the Forehead with the Invocation of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus imparts His Saving Grace to the Soul. As the Eternal Word Redeemed us through the Instrument of the Cross, so He Applies that Redemption to us through the Instrument of Water.

Though Baptism-by-Water is ordinarily necessary for Salvation, there are Two (2) exceptions in Extraordinary Circumstances. Those who Desire to be Baptized, but Die before Receiving the Sacrament can Receive from God the Graces they would have Received in Baptism. This is called Baptism of Desire. And those who are Martyred for Christ, before being Baptized are said to receive Baptism of Blood, for God promises Salvation for all who shed their Blood for Christ - (see Matthew 16:25.)

Though this Sacrament Restores the Supernatural Gift of Communion with God, it does not Immediately Restore all the Preternatural Gifts. We do not become Immortal or Free from Suffering after Baptism; this will not occur until the Redemption of our Bodies at the General Resurrection (Romans 8:26; 1Corinthians 15:53; Revelation 21:4). Our Disordered Passions also remain with us throughout our lives, so we must Struggle against our Sinful Inclination with the Help of God, which comes to us as the Holy Spirit's Gift of Grace.

 

Prayer to Divine Providence

O Sweet and Tender Providence of God, into Thy Hands I commend my Spirit, to Thee I abandon myself, my Hopes, my Fears, my Desires, my Repugnance's, my Temporal and Eternal Prospects. To Thee I commit the Wants of my Perishable Body, to Thee I commit the far more Precious Interests of my Immortal Soul, for whose interests I have Nothing to Fear while I withdraw it not from Thy Bosom. Though my Faults are many, my Misery Great, my Spiritual Poverty Extreme, my Hope in Thee surpasses all. It is Greater than my Difficulties, Stronger than Death. Though Temptations should Assail me, I will Hope in Thee, though I should Sink beneath my Weakness, I will Hope in Thee still, though I should Break my Resolutions a Thousand Times, I will look to Thee Confidently for Grace to keep them at last; though Thou shouldst Slay me, even then will I Trust Thee, for Thou art my God, my Father and my Friend. Thou art my Kind, my Tender, my Indulgent Parent, and I am Thy Loving Child, who cast myself into Thy Arms and beg Thy Blessing, who put my Trust in Thee, and so Trusting, shall Never be Confounded.

Amen

 

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