They exaggerate the idea of voluntary in original sin, thinking that it is the only way to explain how it is a sin properly so called. It is true that, considered as “a moral deformity”, “a separation from God“, as “the death of the soul”, original sin is a real sin which deprives the soul of sanctifying grace. We may add an argument based on the principle of St. Augustine already cited, “the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin”. 2, ad 3um), and it is from this point of view that baptism, putting an end to the privation of grace, “takes away all that is really and properly sin”, for concupiscence which remains “is not really and properly sin”, although its transmission was equally voluntary (Council of Trent, Sess. Earlier still is the testimony of St. Irenaeus; “In the person of the first Adam we offend God, disobeying His precept” (Haeres., V, xvi, 3). Image: The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. 1) … The law of progress is opposed to the hypothesis of a decadence. But the Church’s belief in an ancient alienation from God was part of Revelation from the start. These Protestant writers lay much stress on the last words of the twelfth verse. The presence of so much violence, selfishness, corruption, stupidity, and cruelty in the world points to the fact that Augustinian “pride” is still alive and kicking, and it is evidence that indeed something at some point seems to have gone seriously wrong with human nature. Another part of a video series from Wordonfire.org. V, can. A prince can confer a hereditary dignity on condition that the recipient remains loyal, and that, in case of his rebelling, this dignity shall be taken from him and, in consequence, from his descendants. Thus the multitude of men who receive their human nature from Adam is to be considered as a single community or rather as a single body. Several theologians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, neglecting the importance of the privation of grace in the explanation of original sin, and explaining it only by the participation we are supposed to have in the act of Adam, exaggerate this participation. Augustine taught that original sinis transmitted to the descendants of Adam and Eve through sexual reproduction. The Bible, on the contrary, shows us even spiritual progress in the people it treats of; the vocation of Abraham, the law of Moses, the mission of the Prophets, the coming of the Messias, a revelation which becomes clearer and clearer, ending in the Gospel, its diffusion amongst all nations, its fruits of holiness, and the progress of the Church. Pallavicini, “Istoria del Concilio di Trento”, vii-ix). V. ORIGINAL SIN IN FACE OF THE OBJECTIONS OF REASON. Further, if one denies the dogma of original sin, he automatically rejects the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that is, that she was conceived without original sin. If, however, we consider him as a member of the family of Adam, as if all men were only one man, then his privation partakes of the nature of sin on account of its voluntary origin, which is the actual sin of Adam” (De Maio, iv, 1). By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. As death is the privation of the principle of life, the death of the soul is the privation of sanctifying grace which according to all theologians is the principle of supernatural life. Original Sin in ScriptureIV. “Your dogma makes us strictly responsible for the fault of Adam.” That is a misconception of our doctrine. The Roman Catholic doctrine of Ancestral or Original Sin is harder to pin down because of the development and pendulum swings of its development. Nor can it be said, as Harnack maintains, that St. Augustine himself acknowledges the absence of this doctrine in the writings of the Fathers. All Rights Reserved |, Holy Simplicity: The Little Way of Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and Thérèse of Lisieux. This theory of decadence has no connection with our Revelation. VI), and as each child should have had personally his own justice so now after the fall he suffers his own privation of justice. Thus the principal difficulties of nonbelievers against the transmission of sin are answered. Have a question you’d like to get answered? These are purely physical evils and cannot be called sin. ii; Denz., n. 789 (671)]. Adam and Eve invented it in the Garden of Eden, and as a result all men are born in the state of original sin. (See Grace.) Their opinion, differing from that of St. Thomas, gave rise to uncalled-for and insoluble difficulties. Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned--Romans 5:12. We do not pretend to prove the existence of original sin by arguments from reason only. “It is unjust to make us responsible for an act committed before our birth.” Strictly responsible, yes; responsible in a wide sense of the word, no; the crime of a father brands his yet unborn children with shame, and entails upon them a share of his own responsibility. It is not true that the doctrine of original sin does not appear in the works of the pre-Augustinian Fathers. Augustine saw the source in a fatal flaw in human nature: pride. St. Augustine invokes the testimony of eleven Fathers, Greek as well as Latin (Contra Jul., II, x, 33). (See the “Excerpta Theodori” by Marius Mercator; cf. Rom., v, 12 sqq.). cit., can. To take the word sin to mean death was an evident falsification of the text, so the Pelagians soon abandoned the interpretation and admitted that Adam caused sin in us. Adam by his fault transmitted to us not only death but also sin “for as by the disobedience of one man many [i.e., all men] were made sinners” (Rom., v, 19). xxv, Q. i, a. St. Thomas thus explains this moral unity of our will with the will of Adam. Moreover St. Paul, and after him the councils, regarded death and original sin as two distinct things transmitted by Adam. St. Augustine replied by saying. Both groups acknowledged that sin had entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God’s command, but the Eastern fathers did not think guilt for that sin was passed on; rather, human beings in subsequent generations imitated their first ancestors’ misbehavior. But according to Catholic theology man has not lost his natural faculties: by the sin of Adam he has been deprived only of the Divine gifts to which his nature had no strict right, the complete mastery of his passions, exemption from death, sanctifying grace, the vision of God in the next life. According to them the child who receives mortality at his birth receives sin from Adam only at a later period when he knows the sin of the first man and is inclined to imitate it. It was in the West that precise definition of the doctrine arose.Augustine of Hippo taught that original sin was both an act of fo… Original Sin in face of the Objections of Human ReasonVI. The right solution is to be sought in the free will of Adam in his sin, and this free will was ours: “we were all in Adam“, says St. Ambrose, cited by St. Augustine (Opus imperf., IV, civ). 407 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. Original Sin in Tradition; V. Original Sin in face of the Objections of Human Reason; VI. ORIGINAL SIN IN TRADITION., On account of a superficial resemblance between the doctrine of original sin and the Manichaean theory of our nature being evil, the Pelagians accused the Catholics and St. Augustine of Manichaeism. As to the sin of Adam we have not to examine the circumstances in which it was committed nor to make the exegesis of the third chapter of Genesis. This explains the brevity of the development and the obscurity of some verses. 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