A question about Rom 5:12


#1

What did Paul mean when he said,'it was through one man that sin came into the world, and through sin death' (NJB)

What he is saying is that because of Original Sin death came into the world.

Fine, but does that mean if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned there would be no death, that Adam and Eve would still be among us today? Or would it be that after a period on Earth they would have be taken body and soul into Heaven, as Our Lady was? Or could it be that there would have been death, but a peaceful, joyful experience of the soul leaving the body?

Does the passage mean that there was no death before the original sin was committed? What about the dinosaurs? They lived and died long before Adam and Eve came to be. So, what is this death Paul speaks of? Spiritual death distinct from bodily death?

What about animals? They are not desended from Adam and Eve and so do not share in Original Sin, yet they suffer death. Is their death because of our sin, or is that what God intended for animals all along, that they would live and then die? That would resolve the problem of dinosaurs dying before Original Sin was committed if that were so.

One might say these are just pointless speculations. Perhaps, but are the sort of inconsistencies for which the Bible is so often criticised and the purpose of apologetics is to answer such criticisms.


#2

Animals were never created with immortal souls, but humans were. Adam and Eve, even though they did not have glorified bodies, the power of their souls would have sustained them, but after the fall it brought death. Animals would not have had the same priviledges as humans, but they were obviously much better off before they lived on earth with man and his fallen nature. Obviously there would have never been animal cruelity and abuse nor would there have been damage to the earth in general such as pollution and everything else that fallen man has done badly.


#3

[quote="Cadellin, post:1, topic:316274"]
What did Paul mean when he said,'it was through one man that sin came into the world, and through sin death' (NJB)

What he is saying is that because of Original Sin death came into the world.

[/quote]

First, I recommend that all of Romans 5: 12-21 be studied.

Fine, but does that mean if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned there would be no death, that Adam and Eve would still be among us today? Or would it be that after a period on Earth they would have be taken body and soul into Heaven, as Our Lady was? Or could it be that there would have been death, but a peaceful, joyful experience of the soul leaving the body?

Option two was intended for Adam and Eve. After a period of living in free submission to their Creator, they would have entered heaven with their body and soul. Whether it was a type of joyful death or a type of assumption is not known. (CCC 404)

Does the passage mean that there was no death before the original sin was committed? What about the dinosaurs? They lived and died long before Adam and Eve came to be. So, what is this death Paul speaks of? Spiritual death distinct from bodily death?

The dinosaurs, and I love them dearly, were material beings and thus subject to natural decay and death. Go down to Romans 5: 16-17 which refers to what some call a spiritual death. Actually, this is sin in an analogical sense. Original "sin" is contracted and not committed, a state and not an act. (CCC 404-405) Because we have a spiritual soul, including its intellective powers and free will, we, like the original Adam, can choose to live in God's friendship through the presence of His sanctifying grace. Unlike animals, we can experience a spiritual death which is really a deprivation of original holiness, i.e., sanctifying grace.

What about animals? They are not desended from Adam and Eve and so do not share in Original Sin, yet they suffer death. Is their death because of our sin, or is that what God intended for animals all along, that they would live and then die? That would resolve the problem of dinosaurs dying before Original Sin was committed if that were so.

All animals are material anatomies. Death is a natural occurrence before and after the Fall. Something like a natural forest fire which clears space for new growth. Yes, God intended them to remain material beings. I am not sure if there is an answer to why animals after the Fall do suffer. CCC 400 refers to the harmony with creation being broken. I have not checked all the cross-references in the margin. If you wish to do so, they are CCC 1607,2514, 602, 1008. Actually, I have checked CCC 2514 in relationship with CCC 377. CCC 2514 is concerned more with the human consequence following the loss of harmony within oneself.

One might say these are just pointless speculations. Perhaps, but are the sort of inconsistencies for which the Bible is so often criticised and the purpose of apologetics is to answer such criticisms.

I do not consider your speculations pointless. I read a powerful essay by a British author who promotes respect for animals. He linked the prevalent mistreatment of animals to Cartesian dualism. People knew that an animal did not have a rational spiritual soul and had divided any kind of an animal soul from the body of an animal. Therefore, they wrongly asserted that it was o.k. to have animals in pain or more heartless looking at animals as not experiencing pain.

In conclusion, I am not totally sure that some of the so-called inconsistencies in the Bible are real inconsistencies. Often one needs to dig further to find the entire context.


#4

Hi Cadellin

I interpret this as a spiritual death (separation from God).

I think you'd have to reject a lot of what we know from natural science to interpret this as there being no physical death on Earth prior to the fall of mankind.


#5

I have understood that Adam and Eve and their descendants would have lived forever with God in Eden as the saved will live forever in the New Jerusalem.


#6

One needs to consider that the Garden of Eden did not have the Beatific Vision. Yes, God did communicate directly with Adam and Eve as they “walked” in the garden. But this was not on the level of seeing God face-to-face as He truly is.

In addition, Adam’s descendants would have a human nature which included free will. Therefore, each descendent would be able to imitate Adam’s original choice of scorning God. Those who rejected God, but later repented would have the purification of Purgatory.


#7

[quote="Michael1966, post:4, topic:316274"]
I think you'd have to reject a lot of what we know from natural science to interpret this as there being no physical death on Earth prior to the fall of mankind.

[/quote]

This gets to the point of what I was asking; how can we understand Rom 5:12 without rejecting a lot of what we know from natural science.

I don't think we can reject natural science. As I see it: the Bible is the word of God; it tells us what God says. Science is the study of God's creation; it shows us what God does. I do not believe God will say one thing then do another. That would be tantamount to calling God a liar.

We could save the phenomena by simply saying that science is wrong, but we're never going to deepen our understanding of the Bible if we keep saying that all the time. God's deeds, His creation, illuminates God's word.

My original posting might be rephrased as, how are we to understand Rom 5:12 in the light of what the natural sciences tell us? What science does not, indeed, can not do (for the reasons given above), is deny the Fall, original sin, and the need for salvation. (Some scientists might, but that's another story.)

I think gannymh and COPLAND 3 hit the nail on the head with the suggestion that God had a different agenda for animals. They don't have immortal souls, they weren't created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore were subject to death. This would explain how death could have existed before the Fall. This in turn implies that when, through sin, death came into the world, it came into the human world, having existed in the animal world prior to original sin - and would explain how dinosaurs were able to die before Adam and Eve came to be. (I like that explanation; it saves both Scripture and Evolution. Oh, happy days. :D)


#8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.