Eden Questions


#1

I'm sure that these issues have been dealt with before, but in contemplating the nature of the world prior to the introduction of original sin, I found several things that I could not figure out or that seemed confusing to me. I would very much like to discuss these issues with all the kind and wise people of this forum. My questions are:

  1. Before original sin, did death exist in any way in the world? My answer would be that no, it did not, because of the fact that God prescribed the punishment of death as an originality at original sin, and because in the Book of Wisdom God says He does not desire the death of any living thing. Death seems contrary to God, Who is life.

  2. If death did not exist, for humans, animals, plants, etc., then did predators or any other killing organisms, such as viruses, exist? Several possible answers arise for me for this question: did they exist in an herbivorous form and were then corrupted into predators by original sin? Or did God, anticipating original sin, give them the bodies of predators prior to original sin but they did not start killing until afterwards? Based on the portrayal of the serpent, who was Satan but who was also treated allegorically as a snake, the snake did not automatically attack them, and Adam and Eve did not seem especially afraid of it, as we would now. However, the historical existence of death in nature, as with dinosaurs, who were also predatory, seems to contradict this.

  3. Without original sin, did waste exist? For example, would the human body still have its bodily function to dispose of waste, as with urination/defecation? Or would the food we ate prior to original sin have even had anything in it that our bodies couldn't use? If so, did our bodies even have these waste organs?

  4. Could Adam and Eve remember what it was like before original sin? If so, did they pass on this memory to their children, and could this perhaps account, within the context of the natural distortions of history and multiple retellings, for the universal myth of a paradise?

These are all the questions I can think of at the moment. I apologize for the somewhat convoluted nature of the questions, as I was also thinking as I wrote and I included my own speculations about the questions, meaning them as discussion questions not mere question and answer. Thank you all for your time and God bless. I look forward to seeing your answers. :)


#2

[quote="scameter18, post:1, topic:344535"]
4. Could Adam and Eve remember what it was like before original sin? If so, did they pass on this memory to their children?

[/quote]

Of course they would remember and it must have been not only the hardest thing to endure everyday knowing they had it so good but they must of focused on it too.

Whether they told their children or not I do not know. You would think that they would have, I would.


#3

[quote="scameter18, post:1, topic:344535"]
I'm sure that these issues have been dealt with before, but in contemplating the nature of the world prior to the introduction of original sin, I found several things that I could not figure out or that seemed confusing to me. I would very much like to discuss these issues with all the kind and wise people of this forum. My questions are:

  1. Before original sin, did death exist in any way in the world? My answer would be that no, it did not, because of the fact that God prescribed the punishment of death as an originality at original sin, and because in the Book of Wisdom God says He does not desire the death of any living thing. Death seems contrary to God, Who is life.

  2. If death did not exist, for humans, animals, plants, etc., then did predators or any other killing organisms, such as viruses, exist? Several possible answers arise for me for this question: did they exist in an herbivorous form and were then corrupted into predators by original sin? Or did God, anticipating original sin, give them the bodies of predators prior to original sin but they did not start killing until afterwards? Based on the portrayal of the serpent, who was Satan but who was also treated allegorically as a snake, the snake did not automatically attack them, and Adam and Eve did not seem especially afraid of it, as we would now. However, the historical existence of death in nature, as with dinosaurs, who were also predatory, seems to contradict this.

  3. Without original sin, did waste exist? For example, would the human body still have its bodily function to dispose of waste, as with urination/defecation? Or would the food we ate prior to original sin have even had anything in it that our bodies couldn't use? If so, did our bodies even have these waste organs?

  4. Could Adam and Eve remember what it was like before original sin? If so, did they pass on this memory to their children, and could this perhaps account, within the context of the natural distortions of history and multiple retellings, for the universal myth of a paradise?

These are all the questions I can think of at the moment. I apologize for the somewhat convoluted nature of the questions, as I was also thinking as I wrote and I included my own speculations about the questions, meaning them as discussion questions not mere question and answer. Thank you all for your time and God bless. I look forward to seeing your answers. :)

[/quote]

  1. This depends on which view you hold. If you hold the young earth creationist view, which is accepted by the Church, you believe in a literal 7 days and no pre-Fall death. However, if you hold to theistic evolution, as I do, and as many Catholic scientists do, you believe that the Fall only brought human death to the world and that death of non-rational beings existed.

  2. As before, depends on your belief. If young earth creationist, then they did not exist. If theistic evolutionist, then yes, they did. And the reason Adam and Eve were unafraid of the snake was because they did not have the ability to die yet.

  3. This is a question I've never encountered before, but I imagine that the waste from 2 people would not be enough to damage the land, and might even fertilize it. The idea you propose also.

  4. Could be. This would be a good explanation, but the Biblical narrative addresses neither this nor #3.


#4

I’d like to point out that, as far as I’m aware, theistic evolution is considered by the Church as a valid viewpoint, as long as you hold that at most the human body was a naturally evolved thing. The soul, on the other hand, was instantly created by God (as it still is now, whenever a new person is born).


#5

Yes, I know. This is my view.


#6

I would imagine re: your number 3, that the human bodies would have been the same as we know them in regard to natural functioning; they are entropic bodies; so waste matter would be generated. Entropy-driven chemistry, which powers our bodies has not changed.

Now, ISTM that these functions probably do not carry over into life everlasting, as eternity can have no entropy. This suggests that A&E would have at some point, transformed from their natural bodies into a "spiritual body" or pneumatikon soma, as we will, only, for them, without the shameful hideousness that is death.

ICXC NIKA


#7

=scameter18
Before original sin, did death exist in any way in the world? My answer would be that no, it did not, because of the fact that God prescribed the punishment of death as an originality at original sin, and because in the Book of Wisdom God says He does not desire the death of any living thing. Death seems contrary to God, Who is life.

I suspect not was not orginally planed at least in the aniaml world. [the Angels are evidence]

Not having been there I'm only sharing my personal opinions here.:) The book of Wisdom I SUSPECT is referencing the animal world; not the plant world. Job. 12:6-10

If death did not exist, for humans, animals, plants, etc., then did predators or any other killing organisms, such as viruses, exist? Several possible answers arise for me for this question: did they exist in an herbivorous form and were then corrupted into predators by original sin? Or did God, anticipating original sin, give them the bodies of predators prior to original sin but they did not start killing until afterwards? Based on the portrayal of the serpent, who was Satan but who was also treated allegorically as a snake, the snake did not automatically attack them, and Adam and Eve did not seem especially afraid of it, as we would now. However, the historical existence of death in nature, as with dinosaurs, who were also predatory, seems to contradict this.

Gen 1: "And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat"

Just as man was created to be vegiterian; so t well MIGHT all of the animal kingdom?

Without original sin, did waste exist? For example, would the human body still have its bodily function to dispose of waste, as with urination/defecation? Or would the food we ate prior to original sin have even had anything in it that our bodies couldn't use? If so, did our bodies even have these waste organs?

I suspect we did as these are bodil health related issues

[1] Could Adam and Eve remember what it was like before original sin? If so, did they pass on this memory to their children, and [2] could this perhaps account, within the context of the natural distortions of history and multiple retellings, for the universal myth of a paradise?

[1] I'm quite sure they Did and it was a signifiant part of their Punishment, as well as a constant reminder. I DOUBT they passed it aon having been the CAUSE of all that befell them in Devine Justice. [2] Perhaps; but FAR more like was that the verbal passing on of early history would lend itself to some inconsisticies.

Essentally what the penaly was made the "perfect" very imperfect. Eden had NO real wants or needs at all. They had everyuthing including God; bit desired like satan to be
"God Himself" or at least His equal.

God bless,
patrick


#8

It’s possible that Eden was no different from the world in which we live now. If Adam and Eve accepted Providence fully and were constantly in union with the Mind of God in a way we are not, their world would have been paradise to them even with predators, germs, work, etc.

Even death. What do we understand by death? It’s an end in our minds; something we fend off in our minds as an 'evil". Yet, Christ taught that it is not an evil at all, but a transition. If we all had “faith as big as a mustard seed”, we wouldn’t think of death as anything more than an event in life.

The “knowledge of good and evil” seems multi-layered in meaning to me. It is not only “knowledge” in the sense of concept, or even in the sense of participation. It seems it also means “judgment” or “decision”. Satan lied to Eve, but it was a sly lie. “You will become like God”. In other words, they would have the faculty of arrogating to themselves the “judgment” of what’s good and what’s evil. They would be capable of uttering “non serviam”.

And so, we have ever since resisted Divine Providence. Practically from birth we insist on “deciding” what’s good and what’s evil, and we “decide” what’s suffering and what’s not.


#9

Thank you all very much for your wise and informative responses. :slight_smile:

In response, I do not agree that the world was no different than our present world before original sin. This opposes the ideas described in Genesis, for example that, after they sinned, humanity would have to toil the earth with great difficulty, and would also suffer labor pains. Meaning, original sin brought enmity between humanity and nature, a hostility that did not exist previously.

I also do not believe that, in a world completely without sin and thus in full accordance with God’s will, that Eden would have had anything that is bad, particularly that cause death, such as germs and, possibly to even answer my own original question, predators. The wages of sin are death, and God does not desire the death of any living thing. I also do not believe Adam and Eve would have eventually transformed into a spiritual body. The resurrection is a particular gift of Christ; it is not simply a natural human development. Adam and Eve were perfectly innocent, but even they lacked the divine perfection that humanity will experience when united with Christ at the Last Judgment and our own resurrection.

Christ taught that death is a transition, but death itself, like pain itself, are not good things; they are simply transformed by God into beneficial things. The brutality and tragedy of the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ was good only because He did it willingly for our salvation and rose again from the dead afterward. Otherwise, it would be just as sad and brutal as other crucifixions. So, for us now, the hope of the resurrection sanctifies death, just as the redeeming penitential character of suffering redeems pain - if we pray and if God so deems to sanctify them. They are not good in and of themselves.

As for evolution, please avoid discussing that, as I have seen many threads closed because it is mentioned, and to me it is really irrelevant to this discussion anyways. The age of the earth and the development of living things would not determine the effects of original sin on nature.

Thank you all again and God bless. :slight_smile:


#10

One point I'd like to mention: It states that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they saw that they were naked. They had always been naked, but simply hadn't realised that before, because it hadn't mattered. Whether or not this has significance regarding the death entering the world/always being in the world thing is another question.


#11

[quote="kantus12, post:10, topic:344535"]
One point I'd like to mention: It states that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they saw that they were naked. They had always been naked, but simply hadn't realised that before, because it hadn't mattered. Whether or not this has significance regarding the death entering the world/always being in the world thing is another question.

[/quote]

It might, in a tangential sense.

We are born naked, and we are designed to be naked. Naked is how we are supposed to use our skin! Naked is us, as God intended.

So in a non-mortal context, there would be no more need for "awareness" of naked that there normally is for awareness of breathing.

In a mortal context, however, naked is physically vulnerable (to cold, sunburn, insects, sharp surfaces, etc); biologically vulnerable (bacteria); and most visibly, sexually vulnerable (shame).

So it makes sense that only after a fall would they be aware of naked.

I imagine and hope that in our eternal bodies, we would again be naked, but free of vulnerability and shame, and conscious simply of how great it feels :):)

ICXC NIKA.


#12

As to predators.

I imagine they were always there. Certainly creatures with the physical adaptation to be predators existed in the fossil record from nonhuman times.

However , given that A&E would have had dominion over nature, I'd imagine that predators would simply not have harmed them.

ICXC NIKA


#13

[quote="scameter18, post:1, topic:344535"]
I'm sure that these issues have been dealt with before, but in contemplating the nature of the world prior to the introduction of original sin, I found several things that I could not figure out or that seemed confusing to me. I would very much like to discuss these issues with all the kind and wise people of this forum. My questions are:

  1. Before original sin, did death exist in any way in the world? My answer would be that no, it did not, because of the fact that God prescribed the punishment of death as an originality at original sin, and because in the Book of Wisdom God says He does not desire the death of any living thing. Death seems contrary to God, Who is life.

[/quote]

I think God is talking about eternal death as in eternal death in hell, he isn't talking about bodily death. Death was prevalent in the world before humans came onto the scene. If Adam and Eve never sinned they would have died but after their death would be brought to heaven and would have life eternal.

  1. If death did not exist, for humans, animals, plants, etc., then did predators or any other killing organisms, such as viruses, exist? Several possible answers arise for me for this question: did they exist in an herbivorous form and were then corrupted into predators by original sin? Or did God, anticipating original sin, give them the bodies of predators prior to original sin but they did not start killing until afterwards? Based on the portrayal of the serpent, who was Satan but who was also treated allegorically as a snake, the snake did not automatically attack them, and Adam and Eve did not seem especially afraid of it, as we would now. However, the historical existence of death in nature, as with dinosaurs, who were also predatory, seems to contradict this.

see answer to number 1

  1. Without original sin, did waste exist? For example, would the human body still have its bodily function to dispose of waste, as with urination/defecation? Or would the food we ate prior to original sin have even had anything in it that our bodies couldn't use? If so, did our bodies even have these waste organs?

waste is a natural process of the body so yes.

  1. Could Adam and Eve remember what it was like before original sin? If so, did they pass on this memory to their children, and could this perhaps account, within the context of the natural distortions of history and multiple retellings, for the universal myth of a paradise?

as said they would have had bodily death but not the death of the soul, which happens to those who reject God at their death.

These are all the questions I can think of at the moment. I apologize for the somewhat convoluted nature of the questions, as I was also thinking as I wrote and I included my own speculations about the questions, meaning them as discussion questions not mere question and answer. Thank you all for your time and God bless. I look forward to seeing your answers. :)

I'm excited for this discussion I'm worried this will turn into an evolution/creation debate. But what I think is simple is that science shows us a natural process of how things happen in our universe, theology and philosophy do nothing to reject these ideas. Death existed before the fall but the original sin of Adam and Eve brought about eternal death that happens to those who don't die in the favor of God.


#14

Here is a good article on the subject which also mentions St. Thomas Aquinas position on the matter: ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/did-animals-die-before-the-fall/


#15

one other thing if you guys can find a definitive teaching in the Church about natural death comes to man or that God gave the first humans a gift of supernatural immortal life, I will stop my discussion and seek the reason to these definitive teaching.

definitive means that the Church has either as a unity of all the bishops or a infallible papal statement.

It could also come from scripture but I'm not convinced that the interpretation of Genesis implies that when we say death came to man it is natural death came to man. I think it can be interpreted that Gensis is talking about spiritual death or death of the soul in the afterlife, and that our soul, which is naturally immortal, became mortal when Adam and Eve sinned.

again if the Church teaches other wise definitively or at-least it is a movement of the magisterium that this is the case I will stop discussing and look to understand why the Church teaches what she teaches.


#16

[quote="TRH1292, post:14, topic:344535"]
Here is a good article on the subject which also mentions St. Thomas Aquinas position on the matter: ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/did-animals-die-before-the-fall/

[/quote]

thanks for the link I don't disagree with what akin says, my only question is how can man be immortal on a finite earth. If god only removes entropy from humans how can he survive on a finite earth, and a finite universe. Any thoughts on the issue are speculation and are guesses, this question has not be answered by the Church.

The bible says that God gave Adam and Eve supernatural immorality, but what does that immortality look like, does it necessitate that this immortality would be lived out on earth or would God after their natural death bring Adam Even and their decedents to a place without entropy where they could live out the rest of their immortal life. It is possible to hold, I think, that the resurrection of the dead foretold in scripture would have been the same thing that would have happened to adam and eve if they didn't sin. Maybe it is something like the marian assumption. Again all speculation


#17

For one, I certainly agree with the idea that humanity was originally naked and simply did not know it, or rather did not believe or feel that it was wrong or dangerous, as we now do because of original sin. I also agree that, in the Resurrection, we will be naked again, as clothes would be unnecessary.

For two, I think the idea that is being discussed about the original sin of Adam and Eve having caused "spiritual mortality" is difficult. The human soul is immortal. Hell does not kill the soul, as Hell is eternal, or at least will last until the Resurrection and the end of current time. The wages of sin are death, as St. Paul says; this does not mean spiritual death, because our soul cannot die. I certainly do believe that apart of original sin was that the human soul was damned to Hell, precisely because Adam and Eve chose themselves and Satan over God and so distanced themselves from Him, Who alone can give salvation. However, I do not believe this only meant that our soul was affected by original sin. The sicknesses, injuries, weakness, confusion, vulnerability to temptation, concupiscence, and the hostility between us and nature was directly caused by original sin and did not exist beforehand.

This is, as far as my understanding can tell, what Scripture teaches, both Genesis and other relevant sections. For example, Genesis says that, after original sin, Eve would give birth with labor pains, and Adam would work the ground with toil from the "sweat of his brow". Thus, neither existed before original sin. God would not have created a world, in complete accordance with His will as was Eden, that had bad things in it, such as pain and death. I simply do not believe He would, just as there is no pain or death in Heaven, nor will there by in the Resurrection and the New Earth.

However, this raises many questions, of course, hence my initial questions, especially as regards the scientific record of animal predators and death before the rise of humans on Earth. We as Catholics must always seek to reconcile our beliefs with science, at least where they intersect.

With God being timeless, I think it is quite possible that He allowed death in nature before humans came about, in anticipation of original sin. I do not think this is how He wishes it to be, but I think He could have done it in anticipation of original sin so as to create an orderly, consistent world that would fit humanity after we sinned, which He knew would happen. Eden could have been "set apart", in a sense, completely without death, predators, or anything else negative, and so when Adam and Eve committed original sin and were banished from Eden, the world they were banished into would fit their sin. As someone else said, it is quite possible that, in Eden, there were "predators", but they simply did not hurt Adam and Eve or even, to me, kill at all.

Again this is all speculative, but is quite interesting. Thank you all for your continued participation and interest. God bless. :)


#18

glad to see you bumped this

[quote="scameter18, post:17, topic:344535"]
For one, I certainly agree with the idea that humanity was originally naked and simply did not know it, or rather did not believe or feel that it was wrong or dangerous, as we now do because of original sin. I also agree that, in the Resurrection, we will be naked again, as clothes would be unnecessary.

[/quote]

that could be true but all speculation

For two, I think the idea that is being discussed about the original sin of Adam and Eve having caused "spiritual mortality" is difficult. The human soul is immortal. Hell does not kill the soul, as Hell is eternal, or at least will last until the Resurrection and the end of current time. The wages of sin are death, as St. Paul says; this does not mean spiritual death, because our soul cannot die. I certainly do believe that apart of original sin was that the human soul was damned to Hell, precisely because Adam and Eve chose themselves and Satan over God and so distanced themselves from Him, Who alone can give salvation. However, I do not believe this only meant that our soul was affected by original sin. The sicknesses, injuries, weakness, confusion, vulnerability to temptation, concupiscence, and the hostility between us and nature was directly caused by original sin and did not exist beforehand.

I would strongly disagree our soul is greatly affected by original sin. As shown in another thread on this issue, if death came to man how can you reconcile this view with the findings of science, which show no evidence of a change in the cosmos around the times humans started to show up on the picture.

This is, as far as my understanding can tell, what Scripture teaches, both Genesis and other relevant sections. For example, Genesis says that, after original sin, Eve would give birth with labor pains, and Adam would work the ground with toil from the "sweat of his brow".

I think it would be more accurate to say that God save a supernatural gift to man that would let him avoid sin

Thus, neither existed before original sin. God would not have created a world, in complete accordance with His will as was Eden, that had bad things in it, such as pain and death. I simply do not believe He would, just as there is no pain or death in Heaven, nor will there by in the Resurrection and the New Earth.

if you think that God would create a perfect world from the start then you are forced to believe this, but the problem is that a perfect world from the start would be complete, any possibility for that world changing would remove its perfection. Rather I argue that the perfection of the universe has yet to be realized and wasn't at all realized in Adam and Eve's time. Things like natural disasters death, pain etc. happen because we are on a journey to perfection and the limitations the deprivations that exist in the cosmos cause those bad things to happen. But God is still slowly pulling things to himself and eventually when all things are perfected in Christ the deprivations in the cosmos will be no more.

However, this raises many questions, of course, hence my initial questions, especially as regards the scientific record of animal predators and death before the rise of humans on Earth. We as Catholics must always seek to reconcile our beliefs with science, at least where they intersect.

yes animal predators and death existed before the fall, science makes this clear and genesis (taken symbolically) doesn't suggest to the contrary.

With God being timeless, I think it is quite possible that He allowed death in nature before humans came about, in anticipation of original sin. I do not think this is how He wishes it to be, but I think He could have done it in anticipation of original sin so as to create an orderly, consistent world that would fit humanity after we sinned, which He knew would happen. Eden could have been "set apart", in a sense, completely without death, predators, or anything else negative, and so when Adam and Eve committed original sin and were banished from Eden, the world they were banished into would fit their sin. As someone else said, it is quite possible that, in Eden, there were "predators", but they simply did not hurt Adam and Eve or even, to me, kill at all.

yes but all speculation

Again this is all speculative, but is quite interesting. Thank you all for your continued participation and interest. God bless. :)

thanks again for bumping this.


#19

I may have said this before but I do believe that A&E were mortal; but by supernatural means would be kept alive indefinitely had they not fallen. There was no change in the bodies or in the general environment to cause them to die.

ICXC NIKA


#20

I disagree with several ideas proposed by catholictiger. For simplicity, I'll respond by quotes, as you did. :)

I would strongly disagree our soul is greatly affected by original sin.

I did not say our soul is unaffected by original sin. Of course it is affected; it is why all people went to Hell before Christ's redemptive Crucifixion, and why we must be baptized, and why we retain a weakness and preference towards sin, alongside the physical and mental weaknesses it causes. But that does not mean our soul "dies" because of original sin. Our soul is eternal; nothing takes that away.

As shown in another thread on this issue, if death came to man how can you reconcile this view with the findings of science, which show no evidence of a change in the cosmos around the times humans started to show up on the picture.

While we should always try to avoid conflict between our beliefs and the findings and speculations of science, I do not think this means we must be dependent on science for the verification of our beliefs. Science also has no evidence of Eden or Adam and Eve at all, only vague speculations. It simply says we evolved from lower human-like animals in an ambiguous way, not that we specifically had two original parents who lived in a specific Eden-like place. Eden was not simply a garden or a particular location. It lacked sin. Genesis describes God penalizing Adam and Eve for their sin, as I described earlier. This does not seem symbolic in tone or terminology. We cannot simply reduce everything in Genesis to symbolism. Again, I state my point: God cannot create anything bad or negative in any way, and death is surely a negative thing, particularly for humans. We are meant to be alive, not dead; hence why even Heaven is temporary while we await a return to our bodies in the Resurrection. How could God will for us to be physical, and also will for us to be separated from our bodies? That would be unnatural.

if you think that God would create a perfect world from the start then you are forced to believe this, but the problem is that a perfect world from the start would be complete, any possibility for that world changing would remove its perfection.

There is a difference between infinite, divine perfection, as God enjoys, and the perfection of innocence and total rightness, when something is in total accordance with God's will. All things that are finite can change, and not all change is bad. God cannot change because He is infinite; He has no parts, no qualities that can have variety, because God is all. He is beyond variety. Does the fact that there are multiple types of flowers mean the flowers are imperfect? No, they are perfect as God willed them to have variety, and they can have variety also because they are finite, as everything that is not God is. Adam and Eve were not perfect as God is, nor were they perfect as humanity will be in the Resurrection, when our union with God will be so thorough that we will transcend ourselves. But Adam and Eve were perfectly innocent, as they lacked all sin, and perfectly natural, as they existed exactly as God intended.

Thank you for the conversation, it is quite interesting. God bless. :)


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