Sunday, October 07, 2012

Original Sin

Adam and  Eve: The Original Sin
Third Century 

The Original Sin
From The Murals of the Church of Vera Cruz de Maderuelo
12th century
Fresco mural
203 cm x 207 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Paolo Uccello 1397 - 1475
The Creation of Eve and The Original Sin
244 x 478 cm
Green Cloister, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) 
Original Sin and the Banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-13; 3, 22-24)
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 1606-1669
Adam and Eve, 1638
Etching on ivory laid paper
162 x 116 mm (plate)
The Art Institute, Chicago

Hendrick Frans Verbruggen (Henricus-Franciscus Verbrugghen), 1654 - 1724
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve  from Paradise (detail of the pulpit)
Gilded oak
Cathedral of Ste Gudule, Brussels

Print made by James Barry 1741 - 1806
The Discovery of Adam and Eve
570 millimetres (trimmed) x  418 millimetres
The British Museum, London

The Original Sin with the Fall of Adam and Eve and their Expulsion from the Garden of Eden  (Genesis 3) has long been one of the most important images in Christian art

Central to the tale of the Fall is Adam`s sin: the Original Sin

It was not a question of eating a piece of fruit from a solitary tree in a garden when told not to

The Catechism explains what this First Sin was and its consequences:
"Man's first sin  
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.  
398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinised" by God in glory. 
Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God"."

But Original sin may be taken to mean pne of two things:
 (1) the sin that Adam committed; or
 (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on       account of our origin or descent from Adam

Catholics are often said to be bedevilled and dominated by the Dogma of Original Sin. It is said to inspire excessive feelings of guilt, the so called "Catholic guilt" - an invention of that alleged old curmudgeon St Augustine,

However the early Reformers held to the Doctrine and if anything in a way to a much more stringent doctrine than that ever put forward by the Roman Catholic Church or the Greek Orthodox Church

See The Augsburg Confession (Article II: Of Original Sin) and the Confutation and Defence

See Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion Book II  especially Chapters One and Two

Unlike the Reformers, the Catholic Church has never accepted that in baptism the whole of what belongs to the essence of sin is not taken away, but is only cancelled or not imputed, and declared the concupiscence that remains after baptism not truly and properly "sin" in the baptized, but only to be called sin in the sense that it is of sin and inclines to sin.

Unlike the reformers, the Church condemns the identification of original sin with concupiscence (as in its technical theological sense), and approves the view that the unbaptised could have right use of will

In the 1930s, the Doctrine was "the butt of cheap derision" by the secular Dictatorships such as  the Nazi Party in Germany. Pope Pius XI referred to this in Mit Brennender Sorge (March 14, 1937)

"25. "Original sin" is the hereditary but impersonal fault of Adam's descendants, who have sinned in him (Rom. v. 12). It is the loss of grace, and therefore of eternal life, together with a propensity to evil, which everybody must, with the assistance of grace, penance, resistance and moral effort, repress and conquer. The passion and death of the Son of God has redeemed the world from the hereditary curse of sin and death.  
Faith in these truths, which in your country are today the butt of the cheap derision of Christ's enemies, belongs to the inalienable treasury of Christian revelation.

The doctrine lies at the very heart of the traditional Catholic view of Catholic education. In 1929 Pope Pius XI delivered an Encyclical on Christian Education (Divini Illius Magistri) which stressed the centrality of the Doctrine in the theory of Catholic education
"58. In fact it must never be forgotten that the subject of Christian education is man whole and entire, soul united to body in unity of nature, with all his faculties natural and supernatural, such as right reason and revelation show him to be; man, therefore, fallen from his original estate, but redeemed by Christ and restored to the supernatural condition of adopted son of God, though without the preternatural privileges of bodily immortality or perfect control of appetite. There remain therefore, in human nature the effects of original sin, the chief of which are weakness of will and disorderly inclinations. ...
60. Hence every form of pedagogic naturalism which in any way excludes or weakens supernatural Christian formation in the teaching of youth, is false. Every method of education founded, wholly or in part, on the denial or forgetfulness of original sin and of grace, and relying on the sole powers of human nature, is unsound. Such, generally speaking, are those modern systems bearing various names which appeal to a pretended self-government and unrestrained freedom on the part of the child, and which diminish or even suppress the teacher's authority and action, attributing to the child an exclusive primacy of initiative, and an activity independent of any higher law, natural or divine, in the work of his education."

The Doctrine is still relevant in today`s debates between Religion and Science especially in the field of genetics

Edward Feser has discussed the latest actions on the Doctrine from certain sections of the scientific community who do not appear to know what the Doctrine is.


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