Is it church teaching that death is a result of the fall?

Is it church teaching, and in what sense (common teaching, theological opinion, dogma, etc.), that natural death is a result of the Fall/consequence of Original Sin?

If so, does that mean if the Fall did not happen, everyone after would be living on Earth forever and ever? Would not the Earth be extremely over populated?

There was a thread around a month ago on Augustine and this question. Augustine seemed to differ from the Catechism of Trent though. I can’t find the thread so I can’t compare side by side quotes.

Any help out there? :shrug:

I would go with Trent haha.
But what did Trent say? Natural death?

Trent’s Catechism says that it was the righteous of glory that kept the passions in line and prevented death. Original justice. Augustine said it was the tree of life. Perhaps the tree of life was the sacrament in the garden, as Revelation says it will be in heaven. I need to search this subforum for the recent thread on Augustine’s view

Yes. Absolutely death is a result of the fall. Man walked with God in the Garden of Eden before that and death did not exist.
Check out the following: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph number 400, 403, 1008 and 1018. Number 1008 explains it very well.
Also, check out the bible: Genesis 3:2,3
Also you could read Romans 5:12-19

All Christians believe this, by the way.

Happy reading!

P.S. It’s theology. And wondering about what would have happened had man not fallen into sin is pretty much a waste of time; He Did!! Thank God He provided for us in Jesus Christ.

Maybe invest in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Most the answers to your many questions are easily found within it’s pages. You can read it online too.

Your right, it’s a waste of time trying to second guess what might have been. We need to walk with Christ NOW and follow the true teachings of His Church. It has, through the HOLY SPIRIT, safely quided us for 2,000 years in spite of the failure of some of its members, and the Catholic Church will continue to safely guide us till the end of time. Jesus I TRUST in THEE!! God Bless. Memaw

For humans, spiritual death is the result of sin.

If so, does that mean if the Fall did not happen, everyone after would be living on Earth forever and ever? Would not the Earth be extremely over populated?

It would be speculative to ask these questions, since God did not reveal their answers to us. It might be an interesting discussion, but it’s nothing that is doctrinal or dogmatic in nature…

It is Church teaching that human death is the result of the Fall/consequence of Original Sin. This should be understood in the following sense:

The death that occurred, immediately and directly, as a result of sin was spiritual death, the separation of the human spirit from God. Man broke his relationship with God through disobedience and rebellion. Thus, God’s spirit went out of man.

The death that occurred, mediately and indirectly, as a result of sin was physical death. Prior to the Fall, man possessed preternatural gifts, including immortality. The life of God in his soul sustained him so that his body did not perish. Nor did it suffer from infirmities, illnesses, disease, etc.

However, what should be understood from this is that the body is naturally subject to death, and that without the sustaining life of God indwelling their souls, due to sin, Adam and Eve became subject to that bodily death.

There are a few scenarios we may envision, though doing so is purely speculative. First, Adam and Eve, and their descendants, may have chosen to allow their bodies to age and die according to their nature, as it appears Mary did. Note here that they are not subject to death (such that they would die regardless of their will), but that they would have maintained a mastery over it, only allowing it according to their choice.

Second, after living for some length of time, perhaps fulfilling some unique mission, they would have left the earth to enter heaven at some preordained time, and according to the will of God, as perhaps was the case with Elijah.

Third, it is conceivable that they would have spread out from the earth to explore other planets to tend and keep those, according to their call. It might have been the natural mission of man to bring life to dead planets, to make use of them, and keep them according to God’s will. So, the earth wouldn’t be overpopulated, because man would have spread out into the universe. We have some precedence for supposing that this is at least a possibility when we see, for instance, Jesus, in His glorified body, passing through solid walls, and disappearing from their midst. Moreover, Mary and the Saints, even Saints who are still living on earth, appear to have received special graces that allow for things like bi-location, and receiving our prayers in a virtually eternal manner.

But again, this is all speculation.

Thank you for providing such a thoughtful and thorough answer, instead of simply dismissing my questions as “no need to speculate.” I am a very inquisitive person and like to probe as much into theology as I can. So thanks, again.


The following comes from
which is the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science ISSN: 2037-2329 produced by the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research (ADSIR), operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome:

According to the well-known Augustinian consideration, at the beginning of human history, God gave men and women, despite their being creatures, the “capacity not to die” (posse non mori, cf. De Genesi ad litteram, VI, 36,25: CSEL 28,197): resurrection (or a state of union with God no longer reversible) would have represented the immediate crowning achievement of each historical life, without the interruption of death. This does not mean that physiological laws would have been invalidated, and that human beings would have continued their earthy life indefinitely: what is promised as achievement of the universal history in a redeeming history marked by sin, could have been the achievement of each individual life if there had been no sin (cf. Schmaus, 1953). It does not seem that biological laws are underestimated, nor their foundation deprived, by the biblical doctrine: they are part of the original alliance between God and our ancestors; these laws accept divine judgment of the human sin which broke that alliance, bearing on themselves the consequences of that sin. The very fact that the biological law of mortality is profoundly unsatisfactory to human beings --who often rebel against death as something opposed to their nature-- makes it acceptable under the affirmation of the Catholic faith that death is a consequence of sin, and is perceived as suffering and the worst of all evils.

Yes, that is the teaching. Death itself is something generated by the evil one to make you focus on it so that you lose your focus on God. You know it is easier to control people when you keep them in fear. That is what the devil does.

We also know from Catholic teaching that ALL OF NATURE was changed due to the fall. This is very important and is not well known.

Therefore, the capability of the earth to support people was in fact altered by the fall. The laws on nature were altered.

Check out Catechism 1043 where we see that eventually, there must be a new earth, that is a new earth that is heaven on earth. This new earth will no longer have a fallen nature the way ours does now.

This is a great penetrating question. Many folks are not aware of the fact that all of nature itself was affected by the fall.

Perhaps of interest:

The Historicity of Adam And Eve (Part II: The Doctrine of Original Sin)

by Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, O.P.

I note that the process of biological evolution requires death. An earth with a fallen nature has living beings that must evolve to survive. There is no conflict inherent in evolution and the fall. The fall of man must be seen though in its proper scope, which is the fall of all nature.

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