[quote=matthias]Jesus did not have an unfallen human nature?
But wasn’t the loss of the preternatural gifts a cause of original sin? And since Jesus and Mary would have been born without original sin wouldn’t they also be born with a nature preserved from the consequences as well as the guilt of original sin?
I have not read a lot about this but it seems I have heard some about these gifts.
Is this not one of the reasons that Our Lady would have had a dormition rather than an ordinary death of corruption?
Here’s a quick primer on original sin that might help…
Adam and Eve were created with three kinds of gifts:
- supernatural (sanctifying grace)
- preternatural (freedom from suffering, death)
Gifts 2 and 3 are like catalysts that intrinsically “elevated” gift 1, human nature. Thus, Adam and Eve are said to have been created with an elevated nature.
When they sinned, they lost gifts 2 and 3 for themselves and their progeny. Which means that their progeny would not be automatically born of human generation with gifts 2 and 3. They would however be born with the same natural gifts they had, gift 1.
Thus, Adam and Eve after the fall (and their progeny) are said to no longer have an “elevated nature” but instead have a “fallen nature.”
Consequently, Mary and Jesus were born with the same natrual gifts as Adam.
Catholicism teaches that the human nature remained the same, but the preternatural gifts and supernatural gifts were removed. In otherwords, Adam’s human nature was just like all of humanity, except that his nature was supercharged with supernatural and preternatural catalysts (gifts) that intrinsically elevated his human nature. After the fall, the catalyst was removed. In this sense, human nature was intrinsically changed (due to the lack of divine catalysts). The nature is said to be damaged, but strictly speaking, it is the same nature as it was before, but without the supernatural catalyst (grace), it is fallen nature (as opposed to a once elevated nature), it is a concupiscient nature, also called a sinful nature. Catholicism teaches that this sinful nature can still desire the good, but it is not likely without the gift of grace.
So what about Mary and Jesus? Did they have Adam’s non-supercharged nature? Yes, but that’s not all Mary was given. Mary, by natural generation, inherited Adam’s natural gifts. However, by supernatural intervention of God, she was given supernatural gifts (sanctifying grace). Not by inheritence, but by special intervention of God. Thus, her human nature inherited from Adam was now supercharged with the catalyst of sanctifying grace, and as such is no longer the same as Adam’s “fallen” nature any more. Christians are given the gift of sanctifying grace at baptism, thus washing us from original sin. Mary was given her baptism by God at her conception, because it was most fitting for the Mother of God to be spotless from the moment of her creation.
So, did Mary have the stain of original sin? No, because the moment we or anyone is given sanctifying grace, they are justified and washed of the stain of original sin. The moment she was “born from above” happens to be the moment of her creation. In other words, nature gave her something inherited from Adam, but God, by special intervention, gave her supernatural gifts.
Was she subject to suffering and death? Yes, not as a punishment for original sin, but as meritorious work.
How about Jesus? Did he inherit Adam’s human yet un-supercharged nature? Yes, but he was also much more than human, but also Divine. So, regardless of Mary’s sanctification, which was most fitting for the Mother of God, Jesus was holy because he was the Word of God made flesh. Jesus did not inherit his holiness from Mary, but did inherit his humanity (Adam’s humanity) from Mary. The flesh was inherited from Adam, but he was not merely human but also Divine. Thus, he wasn’t given the “gift” of sanctifying grace, per se, because HE IS THE GIFT GIVER. He was always holy even before the Incarnation, and remain Holy throughout the Incarnation. So, he did indeed inherit Adam’s human nature, which was a fallen nature, however Jesus could not be “fallen” because He had more than just the gifts He inherited from Adam. Jesus was Divine.
Mary could have sinned, just like we can sin. Her sanctifying grace did not make her impeccable.
Jesus was perfectly united in one person, both human and Divine. His sanctification, unlike Mary’s, was like those in Heaven having the Beatific Vision of God. Just like those in heaven, Jesus was on earth with regard to the Beatific Vision. Thus, Jesus was more than just sinless like Mary, but was impeccable–could not have sinned.
Was Jesus subject to suffering and death? Yes, but like Mary, not because of punishment for original sin which neither of them had, but as meritorious work.