Well, my understanding (I stress, my understanding) of original sin as put forth in the catechism is that by sinning Adam lost/forfeited his divine sonship which is why this gift/nature could not be passed to his decedents. The CCC seems to speak of justification/sonship interchangeably - at least when discussing initial justification.

So, while I would personally agree with your statement “once a child of God, always a child of God”, the CCC does not seem to reflect that.

CCC 339 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.

CCC 404 … It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” - a state and not an act.

CCC 416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

CCC 417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

CCC 1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.

So, if one can lose/forfeit justification it seems the same is true for sonship.

I guess I don’t see the relevance of the above quotations.

Christians are adopted children of God. So this discussion is within the context of the New Testament, not the Old. The New Testament assures Christians of the trustworthiness of our Father, who will not disown us. Baptism makes us children of God, and we can be baptized only once.

Lets recap

My question - Can a person lose sonship after baptism?

Adam lost justification/sonship through sin as the CCC quotes show. This is the basis for original sin.

After Baptism, the sacrament of reconciliation would be the way to regain justification:

*As regards those who, by sin, have fallen from the received grace of Justification, they may be again justified, when, God exciting them, through the sacrament of Penance they shall have attained to the recovery, by the merit of Christ, of the grace lost: for this manner of Justification is of the fallen the reparation: which the holy Fathers have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of grace lost. * - Council of Trent decree on Justification CHAPTER XIV

Note again the wording “fallen from the received grace of Justification” - so does that imply fallen from adoptive sonship also? I believe it does, just asking others what they think.

No, not from adoptive sonship. Sonship is permanent, that is why baptism can only be done once. Because if sonship could be lost, then it could only be restored by being baptized again, which is not done.

Penance is the wayward son returning to his father.

But Adam DID lose adoptive sonship, correct? That’s what original sin/justification is all about. That is why we are born “sons of Adam” and not “sons of God” Baptism restores this original justice/sonship. I think we are on the same page at this point.

What I don’t understand is if Adam could lose sonship why can’t we? Stated another way, if justification and divine sonship are the same thing, and we know we can lose justification, why would it not follow that we can lose divine sonship?

Incidentally, I believe that in the Baptist tradition, Baptism can be done multiple times for this reason.

Sure, if justification and sonship are identities, then you can lose sonship. But they are not identities, not quite the same thing. In the Christian covenant, we acquire justification and adoptive sonship via baptism. So, in this thinking, two separate things are accomplished at baptism.

Because, was Adam an adoptive son in the same way we are? Are you thinking that baptism simply restores us to the same state Adam had before the Fall? I never have thought of it that way, which is why I am not sure of the appropriateness of the comparison to Adam.

Yes, that’s exactly what I am getting at (though I would exclude the word “simply”).

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