[INDENT]The Church teaches that we are inclined to sin, thanks to the Fall of Adam. Now, several tendencies to sin can be linked to biological hard-wiring, whether it be our genes, body chemistry, or brain structures.
[INDENT] Does this mean that the Fall of Man affected human biology for the worse?
If so, how?
And if so,
How is this result intrinsic to the consequence of Original Sin – and not just an arbitrary punishment inflicted by God?**
If the Fall of Man did** not** affect human biology so as to introduce tendencies to sin, then in what sense is the natural basis for these inclinations part of God’s design?
The issue to me is that if we say Original Sin corrupted or altered our biological makeup in some way – either in genetics or body chemistry or whatever – so as to make us inclined to certain sins (whether it be inclinations to act violently, become an alcoholic, have homosexual tendency, etc.), then that would seem to contradict (1) what we know from science**** and (2) what church doctrine says of Original Sin (namely, that our nature was not arbitrarily corrupted)***.
**Catholic teaching on Original Sin states that, prior to the Fall, God placed our first parents in a state of grace and friendship with Him. Catholic theology also says that it was fitting that our first parents should have certain *preternatural *gifts that were not owed to human nature, but that nonetheless complemented the supernatural life of grace. Man was uplifted by not only having grace in his soul but the gifts of integrity (harmony of passions and self under the control of reason), impassibility (freedom from suffering), and bodily immortality. Original Sin did not corrupt man’s nature; rather, it lost for Adam the grace and friendship with God as well as the other gifts of integrity, impassibility, and immortality. Through him, we lost these gifts as well, so our nature is not all that God had originally *uplifted *it o be. But it is not a corruption of our nature; it’s not as if God plucked out a piece of our nature or added something extra after the Fall.
***The nature of man experienced a change after the Fall, yes. It could be said that God had meant for all of mankind to live in friendship (grace) with him and to not experience inclination to sin, suffering, or death – but now we do. The nature of man was not corrupted, though; rather, these extra gifts of integrity, impassibility, and immortality fell away with the loss of grace. I’ve read several Catholic theologians and authors say that Original Sin left our natures in a place similar to what human nature would have been, anyway, had God not uplifted us supernaturally in grace and preternaturally with those gifts of integrity, impassibility, and immortality.
****Catholic teaching does not require us to believe that the Fall introduced physical evil (as opposed to moral evil) into the world. And it is good that it does not require us to, because from science, we know that animal pain and death, natural disasters, and disease-causing pathogens have existed prior to the arrival of humans.[/INDENT][/INDENT]