Since God created someone without original sin (and presumably without the tendency to sin as well) why doesn’t he just create everyone else the same way? Wouldn’t that solve the problem of sin in a much easier and more effective way than having Jesus come to be sacrificed?
A much better question is if God is omniscient and omnipotent He knew before creating anything what the results of creation would be. He could have created angels and men and not had them fall into evil. He knew what would happen, the mess that would be made and yet created it all.
He could not only have created others without sin. He could have created all creation without sin or evil. This is the problem of evil and there is no answer that we can reach with our finite intellects.
Attempts are made to answer it by saying God gave people freedom to choose good or evil, free will, but this does not really solve the puzzle.
Humans are finite creatures. Human intellect is limited. The power to comprehend something infinite is not possible. Imagine that you have a personal computer. It can hold and process so much data. Then think of one of the monster data centers where Google stores and analyzes all the information it collects. The pc is not capable of processing the data that does through the data center.
A finite mind can not comprehend anything infinite.
Jesus said to His apostles that there was much He wanted to tell them, but they could not bear it yet. There are things we are unable to understand, because of the limitations of our finite minds. But we still ask the questions. Why, why why?
When we encounter a thing that is beyond our finite ability to understand we call it mystery.
There is a famous story about Saint Augustine. He was walking on the beach struggling with understanding the nature of God. An angel appeared to him in the form of a boy who was playing at the water’s edge. The boy dug a hole in the sand and kept taking water from the sea and pouring it into the hole. Augustine asked him what he was doing and the boy said he was putting the sea in the hole. Augustine told the boy that the sea could not fit in the hole. The hole was obviously too small to hold it so why would he try to do what is impossible. The boy said, then why do you try to fit God into your mind, and disappeared.
It may be only a legend, but it illustrates that we are limited, finite and can not understand things that are beyond certain limits.
This does not mean that we can not understand anything about God. It means we can not understand everything about God. Some water fit in the hole in the sand and it was the same water that was in the sea.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was possibly the greatest theologian in Christian history. He said that God who is infinite is so far beyond us that we can have no direct knowledge of Him. It is impossible to hold. He said the only way we can know about God intellectually is through analogy.
So Jesus taught in analogies called parables. He said. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a farmer who sowed seed, a housewife who lost a coin, a shepherd who lost a sheep, wise and foolish virgins, etc.
The claim of religion is that God has revealed Himself to us throughout salvation history. He has done this by leaving evidence of supernatural power, doing things that are above or outside nature, breaking the laws of nature. These inexplicable things either happened or they did not. If they did then they are evidence of something beyond the material world we know.
Beyond the historical claims of such things made in the Bible, I have personally witnessed miracles. But we all choose whether or not we will accept in faith the story of salvation.
You have not, yet. You may or may not come to faith. I may lose faith. None of us knows tomorrow. Faith is knowledge acquired by believing something we are told, that we do not learn on our own or figure out. We all live by faith. If you become ill you go to a doctor whose medical knowledge figures out what your problem is and the remedy. We take directions to get to a place when we are lost, by someone who knows the way. We know the way to where we are going by believing what we are told.
Religion is like that. We are broken and can’t fix ourselves and do not even know where we are going, much less the way there. We know we will die, but not what happens thereafter if anything. There does seem to be lots of evidence that the soul survives, based on experiences of people who have died, their souls experienced something else, and returned to tell about it.
When we encounter a thing that is beyond our finite ability to understand we call it mystery.
http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif Good points…
CCC491: Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
492: The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.”
493: The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia) and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.” By the Grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.
Mary, too is redeemed by Christ. There is no redemption without Christ. The price for mankind sinning is death. Genesis 3:3, 19; Romans 6:23. Jesus paid the price for us, once for all. 1 Peter 3:18
The example usually given is about falling into a mud puddle. We have fallen in and Jesus pulls us out. Mary was prevented by Jesus from ever falling in.
Mary was told what God had in store for her in the Gospel of Luke, and she consented to it, undoing the “no” of Eve. Mary could have said no, but said yes. She, too had free will, but was unencumbered by the attachment to sin and the clouded judgment that comes with it. God wants us to love him. Love, by its nature, means making a decision. If the decision is removed from the equation, then it cannot be love.
Following up on this excellent post, and on the actual thread title, this is where accuracy in terminology is useful. Eve was created without original sin. Mary was not created; she was conceived thru the same process as the rest of us humans, but the redemption to be purchased by Christ was applied to her in advance, and she was conceived (not created) without original sin.
When men encounter mystery, things that are incomprehensible, but true, one of the responses is disbelief. Even in the natural order things that amaze us are hard to believe and we often refuse to believe them or are very astonished. The word incredulous describes the state of a person when this happens.
In the gospels we see Jesus tell the Jews they have to eat His body and drink His blood. They were hanging around listening to His great wisdom and when He said this they walked away. This is a response to mystery.
What many Protestants do is redefine the doctrine the Church always believed about the Eucharist. They say the Eucharist is symbolic. If it is only a symbol then there is no mystery to confound their minds. They made it go away. But we still have the words of Jesus. We still hear Him tell the apostles at the last supper that the bread in His hands is His body and the wine in the cup is His blood. We hear Him say He is the bread come down from heaven. He says His body is “real” food and His blood is “real” drink.
The Protestant response is understandable. It is what we do when we are confounded, find a way our minds can make the mystery go away, find an explanation that lets us fit mystery into our understanding, put the sea in the hole in the sand.
We see people do the same thing with the Incarnation of Christ. An archangel appears to Mary and tells her she is full of grace and says she is going to have an unusual son. That alone leaves us incredulous. Her response should have been to think that when she and Joseph got married this would happen. Instead she said how could it happen since she does not know man. She herself was a bit incredulous. Then she is made pregnant by the power of The Holy Spirit. This is all beyond our power to comprehend. We are like Mary who says; How can this be? She does not understand it, but her response is, “Let it be done to me according to your word”. The proper response to mystery is faith. It is either faith and acceptance or disbelief and rejection.
Muslims accept that Mary conceived as a virgin, but refuse to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, God Incarnate. It is impossible that God could become finite, leave eternity and come here. It is impossible that a corpse could rise from the dead. That mystery is resolved by saying someone who looked like Jesus was crucified.
The alternative to trying to explain mystery to ourselves by making it fit in our minds is to believe in faith what is revealed. When Jesus asked the apostles if they would leave Him as the Jews did who could not deal with Him saying what He said about His body and blood Peter said what you said is difficult to understand (we can not understand), but we have nowhere else to go. Only you have the words of eternal life. We do not understand this, but believe you.
The atheist refuses to believe God exists. He can not see God and the evidence that He exists is all these crazy stories that sound like fairy tales and are impossible to believe that happened to other people. His response to mystery is refusing to believe.
We are all in this together.
We all share responsibility for each other’s actions, because we influence each other in no matter how small degree.
Thus, in international law, all citizens of a dictatorial country share responsibility for the dictator’s actions even if they hate him. Thus, after German’s defeat in WWI, the world enacted financial penalties on it.
Adam sinned. Therefore, all his descendants are in the fallen state.
Does this sound unfair? Consider the alternative. Being in the fallen state, we can repent and be forgiven again and again. Adam in the state he was created could only make one decision about good and evil for life, like the angels because he had perfect understanding of his choice. Out of mercry God clouded his mind to give him and us another chance.
Mary is not a “someone”. She is the mother of Jesus, the Co-Redemptrix…
**This is a very relevant point. Mary’s Immaculate Conception was pure grace…for all mankind! Like the rest of us, she didn’t merit that grace; it was part of God’s plan of salvation for us, a plan whereby we’re saved corporately, as a body. There must be great value in God’s mind for having the majority of humankind come to Him, turning from sin, the *hard *way, by experience, by, grueling at times, learning to choose only the good and reject evil after being cast into a world where both of those realities are experienced, or known, until we recognize our need for the Father, the ultimate Goodness, and run, like the Prodigal, back to His open arms.
The New Covenant is all about our wills becoming freely aligned with Gods will, but not without His necessary help, His grace, Mary’s role being a critical link in the process. And BTW, Mary, herself, still never lacked the freedom to commit her own OS.**
He did; he created Adam and Eve. Remember, the only way a prefect being can “sin” is through a completely “spiritual” lapse. Adam, Eve, Satan and his followers, were not created evil. “. . .there was no thought in God’s first providence of an ignis aeternus.” (The Teaching of the Catholic Church, Vol I, 1962) As with Satan, Adam and Eve were beings of a lower order, as human beings, placed into a higher order (“perfect beings,” in communion with the angels), wherein their only possibility of sin was to refuse to acculturate, that is to, in effect, rebel against the acquisition of the culture.
That is exactly what He is going to do!
Mary is the first. But all those who die in God’s grace will follow. Our tendency to sin will be taken away once we are in heaven.
Mary and the rest of us are saved from our sins by the Cross of Christ. By Christ dying for our sins, we are all saved from our sins, even Mary. We are saved from sin after falling into sin. Mary is saved from sin by not ever falling into sin the first place. It is only by the grace of God.
Also, God is infinite. To God, nothing is easier or harder for Him to do. Everything is equally easy. He chose to do it one way according to His pleasure. It has nothing to do with which is easier to do.
Thanks for your responses so far, but I’m seeing a common pattern here. Most people seem to be telling me how and why God created Mary without sin. My question, however, is if he could create one person that way, why couldn’t he create everyone that way? If somehow she was saved at conception “by the grace of God” then why can’t everyone have the same treatment?
It’s not that he couldn’t create everyone the same way, it’s that he didn’t – and he didn’t have to. That he did for Mary was an act of grace, an act of mercy.
So now people have told you how and why God preserved Mary from original sin, and your question as to why he could not for others contains an invalid premise.
Why can’t everyone? Because God chose not to. Why is this a problem?
So that he might court his spotless bride…
You are all-beautiful, my beloved,
and there is no blemish in you.
And so that he might might call to his Church…
**Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
"Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come! **
And so that we might hear his voice, and seek him…
On my bed at night I sought him
whom my heart loves-
I sought him but I did not find him.
I will rise then and go about the city;
in the streets and crossings I will seek
Him whom my heart loves.
And maybe even find him…
He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)
So that he could save his beloved, each of us, and thereby show us his glory.
Think about it like this: your wife (I’m guessing you’re male from your name) is going to have a baby. The doctor tells her that if she smokes and drinks while pregnant the baby will not develop properly, and will likely come out with physical and mental issues. If she wants a healthy baby all she has to do is forego smoking and drinking for the duration of the pregnancy. With this knowledge, if she did smoke and drink we’d rightly call her a terrible mother.
Extending the analogy to God, he is perfectly capable of producing sin-free humans, who are spotless of mind, body, and soul, all while retaining their free will. Instead he chooses to create us with original sin and fallen natures. This doesn’t seem compatible with God’s supposed loving nature, and I’m trying to understand the justification.
The reason is that Mary was to be the mother of the Father’s only begotten Son, Jesus. A singular role never to be repeated.
A thought to ponder.
In the case of the woman, the woman actively engages in the behavior that renders the child ‘wounded’. In the case of God, He does nothing to actively render the to-be-conceived soul ‘wounded’. There is no behavior God is engaging in that he must quit for the to-be-conceived soul to be free of harm. Original sin is inherited from the human parents, not inflicted or embedded by God.
In the case of Mary, God mercifully intervened and protected Mary’s soul from inheriting the effects of original sin.
**417 **Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.
**419 **“We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “by propagation, not by imitation” and that it is. . . ‘proper to each’” (Paul VI, CPG § 16).
God didn’t create Mary without the freedom to sin. She was essentially in the same position as Adam & Eve. She was no more capable of remaining sin-free and spotless as she was capable of sinning. She chose to remain sin free. And having been born without the effects of OS, without concupiscence, didn’t necessarily even make her life any easier here on this fallen planet. With grace provided by Christs’ sacrifice, we all have the same advantage-we can all overcome sin in the end.