Can you please assist me in refuting a friend of mine? Here are some of his claims:
- He believes that sinners, including the fallen angels, have a “reasonable chance” of salvation. He asserts that the only reason any soul would be “eternally damned” is merely because of their stubbornness, and that, even after death, if they repent, may be saved. He also argues that the references in the Bible of “eternal hell-fire” are indistinguishable from the purgatorial fire described by St. Paul in First Corinthians.
- He believes that the Blessed Virgin Mary was a reincarnation, most possibly of Eve. His argument is that there are essential lessons and graces one can only receive by battling sin throughout one’s life. Since Our Lady was deprived of this, being cleansed of sin at the moment of her conception, and sustained as sinless throughout her life, there must’ve been a way that could she learned these things previously, hence her alleged reincarnation. When I point to the Fathers’ unanimous condemnation of reincarnation, including that of Origen, he merely brushes it off and says “I’m not talking about that ‘kind of reincarnation’.”
- He believes that the Fall of Man was, on net, positive. He says that Original Sin and concupiscence are merely the natural consequences of being made “like God”, i.e. autonomous. He says that our first parents were just blank-slates and that God, no good and well they would fall, wishing to make them free, placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in front of them and enlisted the serpent (whom he doesn’t necessarily believe is a representation of Satan, whom he believes is merely God’s helper) to eat of the fruit. He says that this is the only idea which makes sense because any other explanation makes God out to be incompetent, by failing to prevent them from eating of the Tree. His authority on this is the verse from the*Easter Vigil Mass Exsultet: “O happy fault, necessary sin of Adam, etc.”
- Related to the above proposition is his claim that Adam and Eve were genderless before the Fall. Because of this, he refers to them almost always by the Hebrew words for man and woman, “Ish” and “Ishshah”. His response to Gen. 1:27 is that this does not necessarily imply that Adam and Eve were made male and female at their creation, but that it merely refers to their being “made” male and female at a later date, namely after the Fall for the propagation of the human race.
Please be elaborate in your responses.
Thank you and God bless.