Death as a result of original sin


#1

Death as a result of original sin

I’ve been reading the CCC, and trying to figure out the church’s teaching regarding original sin and death.

1018 …Even though man’s nature is mortal, God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin. “Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” is thus “the last enemy” of man left to be conquered.

Elsewhere, (in 159) the CCC states that there can be no conflict between faith and science because they are both from God. Also, “there can never be a real discrepancy between faith and reason”.

From science and reason (which cannot have discrepancy with faith), we know
-Death was in the world before man.
-Men die from the same causes as the creatures that existed before man.

How do we reconcile the teaching of 1018 with science & reason?


#2

Death in the world before man. . .

No problem. Man, not animals, birds, amobes, etc., was formed in the image and likeness of God. There is nothing to say that any life other than that of man was not to suffer death. Only man has an immortal soul, you see.

As for men dying from the same causes. . .again, no problem. Once man sinned against God, why not have man subject to any bodily/ natural causes on this planet? Since God made the “natural laws”, such as gravity, motion, etc., once man was sent from Paradise to earth, man would be subject to those laws, including those of decay, illness and finally death.

Nothing contradictory here at all to the catechism, which starts right off with “Man’s nature”, not with “All nature”.


#3

[quote=Tantum ergo]Death in the world before man. . .

No problem. Man, not animals, birds, amobes, etc., was formed in the image and likeness of God. There is nothing to say that any life other than that of man was not to suffer death. Only man has an immortal soul, you see…
[/quote]

What about in 400: "…Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay”. ?


#4

anybody?


#5

I would suggest that our First Parents were created in a state of supernatural Grace. Thus they were sustained, both soul and body, not by their own natural perfection but by the perfection of God the Creator. When they chose to reject that Grace, sin entered the world and cut us off from this supernatural sustenance, thus making Humans, like the rest of creation, experience bodily death.


#6

[quote=Dr. Colossus]I would suggest that our First Parents were created in a state of supernatural Grace. Thus they were sustained, both soul and body, not by their own natural perfection but by the perfection of God the Creator. When they chose to reject that Grace, sin entered the world and cut us off from this supernatural sustenance, thus making Humans, like the rest of creation, experience bodily death.
[/quote]

But what about paragraph 400, "…Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay?” That seems to say nothing else in creation decayed before man sinned. Reason and science tells us that is not what happened.


#7

Here’s another way to look at it: the Catholic faith teaches that Jesus, and possibly Mary, died. But they did not suffer decay.


#8

That seems to say nothing else in creation decayed before man sinned. Reason and science tells us that is not what happened.

Completely different meaning of the word decay. The word that is translated as decay is the Latin word “vanitati”, the origin for the words vain and vanity. When something is “in vain” it means that it lacks value, or has a decreased value, as in “I tried in vain to move the mountain with my hands”. When the passage was translated into English, the word decay was commonly being used to represent this concept, and in some cases it still is today. Take, for example, the concept of “urban decay”. It’s not the rotting away of cities, but rather the destruction of values (moral and social) that happens in an urban environment; there is nothing about physical rotting at all in the phrase. The word decay is also associated with rot because when something rots, like a beautiful dress, it loses value.

In other words, Creation is subject to a diminished value because of the sins of Man. The world works in vain to give glory to God, because the sins of Man have rendered it unable to fully live up to its original purpose. The world is tarnished by our Sin, and will be until the return of the Messiah.

You’ll find countless websites on both sides of the Creationist/Evolutionist debate arguing over this passage, but not a single one ever references where the word comes from, or the actual words used in the original passage. They simply take the word decay at face value and apply the popular modern meaning, completely overlooking the broader range of definitions, and the definitions that were the popular ones at the time of translation. Regardless, if you read it in Latin or Greek, there is no confusion about the meaning, and no discrepency between science and scripture.


#9

I thought the problem with the fall was not necessarily phyiscal death that was introduced, but spiritual death and struggles with immorality that cause decay of the soul.


#10

[quote=serendipity]I thought the problem with the fall was not necessarily phyiscal death that was introduced, but spiritual death and struggles with immorality that cause decay of the soul.
[/quote]

Man’s earthly life was meant to end naturally like Enoch’s. Sin brought the unnatural end due to corruption.

The command to populate the earth implies that earthly lives ended but not in the unnatural death we now experience.

Animals aren’t able to concieve of existence that they aren’t participants of therefore death cannot enter through them.


#11

[quote=Ghosty]Completely different meaning of the word decay. The word that is translated as decay is the Latin word “vanitati”, the origin for the words vain and vanity. When something is “in vain” it means that it lacks value, or has a decreased value, as in “I tried in vain to move the mountain with my hands”. When the passage was translated into English, the word decay was commonly being used to represent this concept, and in some cases it still is today…
[/quote]

Thank you! I saw that the “subject to decay” was referenced to Romans 8:21, but I didn’t look it up. Now, looking in the NAB Romans, 8:20 & 8:21 reads: “for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself ould be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

Why did the Catechism (I’m reading the latest edition published in 1995) use the “bondage to decay” quote?


#12

[quote=serendipity]I thought the problem with the fall was not necessarily phyiscal death that was introduced, but spiritual death and struggles with immorality that cause decay of the soul.
[/quote]

That’s what I thought, too. But according to the Catechism, man’s bodily death was introduced because of original sin. (CCC paragraph 1008).


#13

[quote=Benadam]Man’s earthly life was meant to end naturally like Enoch’s. .
[/quote]

Where did you read/hear this teaching?


#14

Why did the Catechism (I’m reading the latest edition published in 1995) use the “bondage to decay” quote?

Likely because that is a common rendering. Nothing is meant by it, and it obviously wasn’t intentionally misleading. Sometimes mistakes are made, even in the Catechism :stuck_out_tongue:

Remember that the wording used is not wrong, just not the popular rendering anymore. It’s quite possible that the people composing the Catechism were used to using the word decay in that meaning, and knew what they were talking about. It’s a pretty common error to make.


#15

[quote=Tantum ergo]… once man was sent from Paradise to earth, …
[/quote]

Where did you get this from?


#16

[quote=nobody]Where did you get this from?
[/quote]

Origen taught the pre-existence of souls in a paradise-like state, souls who then “fell” into physical existence and physical bodies.


#17

[quote=nobody]Where did you read/hear this teaching?
[/quote]

I know a cloistered religious woman who is a theologian of several categories including Sacramental, moral and systematic theology. I write to her sometimes and she lets me in on theological thought amongst those who do it as a profession.

My question to her was in reference to something she wrote about ‘chronic illness as vocation’ . Within her explanation was the theology surrounding the end of our earthly lives.


#18

Would that be before or after Origen fell into heresy? Such teaching is not accepted by the Church.


#19

I think the Catholic view is that we have pre-existence in God as potential. In other words, our potential to exist is our only pre-existence and that existed only in the mind of God.


#20

[quote=Ghosty]Would that be before or after Origen fell into heresy? Such teaching is not accepted by the Church.
[/quote]

Origen’s views (or at least the views of his followers) were declared heretical roughly 200 years after his death.


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