Catholic vs. Protestant notion of Original Sin


#1

Hello. I am a relatively new member, who has, over the past couple of months, experienced a re-conversion into the Catholic Faith. Before this process began, I had, for a couple of years, been a Protestant of sorts attending a Presbyterian church; and before that, I had, for several years, been nothing at all, essentially rejecting my Catholic upbringing as a young child. Naturally, over the past couple of months, I have been immersed in comparing Catholic teaching with that of Protestantism and have, so far, crossed most of the major barriers people typically experience when coming into the Church from a Protestant background. My new big issue concerns Original Sin. I was wondering if anyone could tell me how the Catholic concept of Original Sin differs from the Protestant one. Because I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that one of the major tenets behind Luther’s notion of Sola Fide was his belief and assertion that sin is a necessity and that man cannot overcome concupiscence. Since, Catholicism obviously condemns the notion of Sola Fide, what, in other words, does Catholic teaching state we have inherited from Adam as opposed to what Protestantism states?


#2

From what I understand protestants see it as a totally depraved state where every part of the person is corrupted and unable to exercise things like free will and unable to do any good even with God’s grace. The only good you can do is God working in you outside your free will.

I like Genesis 4, where right after the fall it says this:
1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” 8 Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. The way God talks to Cain doesnt sound like the way protestants describe original sin, God talks to Cain as if he is competant (at least to a degree) rather it fits more the Catholic view that man was seriously weakened both physically and spirtually (were subject to suffering and death and strong urge to sin, but a degree of free will still exists), but not to the serious degree that protestants take it.

The degree protestants take it, in the above passage Cain had no choice but to kill his brother (his free will was gone and he could only do evil), for Catholics Cain was seriously challenged (spiritually and physically) but didnt have to sin.

Maybe people could explain better.


#3

So then what exactly does the CC teach us Christ saves us from as opposed to what Luther believed Christ saves us from. Since Catholicism and Protestantism obviously have different ideas about what is Original Sin, therefore isn’t it reasonable to conclude that they have differing views as to what Christ is restored to us in baptism?


#4

Ok…the last sentence in my reply makes no grammatical sense. Omit the word “Christ” and it should make more sense. Sorry, I haven’t eaten for a while and my mind is a little slow right now


#5

To put a different spin on my question, did Luther distinguish between Original Sin and concupiscence, or did he meld them together?


#6

[quote=mlcampbell]So then what exactly does the CC teach us Christ saves us from as opposed to what Luther believed Christ saves us from.

Since Catholicism and Protestantism obviously have different ideas about what is Original Sin, therefore isn’t it reasonable to conclude that they have differing views as to what is restored to us in baptism?
[/quote]

Historical Christianity (ie what Jesus preached) has always believed that Baptism forgives Original sin as well as any other sin. Protestants believe Baptism is just a outward sign of what has already happened via Faith Alone. As far as I understand, for protestants nothing is restored via Baptism.


closed #7

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