Original sin - did anything remove it prior to baptism?


#1

For instance, did Elijah still have original sin when he was taken into heaven? If so, how could he go to heaven? Did circumcision remove original sin?

Thanks. I’m pretty confused about this.

God bless,
Cyceri


#2

No nothing removed original sin before baptism. When Jesus died on the Cross he descended into hell to get the souls of the Jewish Patriarchs and bring them to heaven.

Hope that helps!
Arnold


#3

Whether circumcision bestowed sanctifying grace? (ST III, Q70, a4)

Objection 1. It seems that circumcision did not bestow sanctifying grace. For the Apostle says (Galatians 2:21): “If justice be by the Law, then Christ died in vain” . . .

On the contrary, Augustine says . . . “From the time that circumcision was instituted . . . it availed little children unto sanctification by cleansing them from the original and bygone sin . . .”

. . . in Baptism grace is bestowed by the very power of Baptism itself, which power Baptism has as the instrument of Christ’s Passion already consummated. Whereas circumcision bestowed grace, inasmuch as it was a sign of faith in Christ’s future Passion . . .


#4

There is a story (not dogmatic at all) that John the Baptist had his Original Sin removed in his mothers womb, at the Visitation.


#5

St. Thomas’ reply to Objections 4 & 5 (in above link) are interesting in that he gives some differences in the effects between circumcision and baptism.
Reply to Objection 4. Original sin was taken away in circumcision, in regard to the person; but on the part of the entire nature, there remained the obstacle to the entrance of the kingdom of heaven, which obstacle was removed by Christ’s Passion. Consequently, before Christ’s Passion not even Baptism gave entrance to the kingdom. But were circumcision to avail after Christ’s Passion, it would give entrance to the kingdom.

Reply to Objection 5. When adults were circumcised, they received remission not only of original, but also of actual sin: yet not so as to be delivered from all debt of punishment, as in Baptism, in which grace is conferred more copiously.


#6

The Council of Florence, Bull “Exultate Deo,” 1439.
…There are seven sacraments of the new Law: …, which differ a great deal from the sacraments of the Old Law. For those of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ; these sacraments of ours contain grace, and confer it upon those who receive them worthily. …

(Denzinger 695 web.archive.org/web/20110724134447/http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma7.php


#7

This is consistent with what I had believed. Of course St. Thomas Aquinas wrote before the Council of Florence and it is a difficult subject, but it does look as though he made a mistake here.


#8

I believe the Bull and Aquinas are saying the same thing – but it’s not that easy to grasp it in Aquinas. This paragraph in the Summa link is where it can be most easily (if I can use that word about Aquinas :slight_smile: ) seen. I’ll color code the sections from the Bull and Aquinas to show where they are saying the same thing.

Aquinas
We must say, therefore, that grace was bestowed in circumcision as to all the effects of grace, but not as in Baptism.** Because in Baptism grace is bestowed by the very power of Baptism itself,** which **power Baptism has as the instrument **of Christ’s Passion already consummated. Whereas circumcision bestowed grace, inasmuch as it was a sign of faith in Christ’s future Passion: so that the man who was circumcised, professed to embrace that faith; whether, being an adult, he made profession for himself, or, being a child, someone else made profession for him. Hence, too, the Apostle says (Romans 4:11), that Abraham “received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the justice of the faith”: because, to wit, justice was of faith signified: not of circumcision signifying. And since Baptism operates instrumentally by the power of Christ’s Passion, whereas circumcision does not, therefore Baptism imprints a character that incorporates man in Christ, and bestows grace more copiously than does circumcision; since greater is the effect of a thing already present, than of the hope thereof.

The Council of Florence, Bull “Exultate Deo,” 1439.…There are seven sacraments of the new Law: …, which differ a great deal from the sacraments of the Old Law. For those of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ; these sacraments of ours contain grace, and confer it upon those who receive them worthily. …

Baptism is an actual instrument which contains the grace;
Circumcision is only a sign. It was because of their faith that God conferred the grace which Jesus would merit.


#9

I see no contradiction between Florence and St. Thomas, they just say it differently.

“These sacraments of ours contain grace” = “in Baptism grace is bestowed by the very power of Baptism itself”

“[The sacraments] of the Old Law did not effect grace, but only pronounced that it should be given through the passion of Christ” = “circumcision bestowed grace, inasmuch as it was a sign of faith in Christ’s future Passion”

In other words “effecting grace” is not the same as “bestowing grace.”

ETA: Nita beat me to it. :slight_smile:


#10

There is a lot of confusion on a particular point. “Sin” is not an entity, but a lack. “Original Sin” is not something added on to a natural soul, it is rather the condition of the natural soul by itself, without the addition of supernatural grace.

So there is nothing to “remove.” There is, rather, a lack, to be supplied, and God’s grace supplies what we naturally lack. Baptism supplies supernatural grace, but God is not limited to Baptism for the supplying of grace. Our Blessed Mother was in fact “full of grace” from the very moment of her Conception, and she had yet to be baptized.


#11

The Gospel according to Luke, referring to John the Baptist…

[BIBLEDRB]Luke 1:15[/BIBLEDRB]


#12

Hmm, interesting perspective. Ultimately it seems to me like you are forcing this view into the text. The passage from the Council certainly seems to me to be saying that circumcision merely prefigured the granting of grace through the New Covenant rather than being an occasion for receiving this grace. Remember that the context of the Council of Florence’s teaching on circumcision was not to intricately describe how the sacraments bestow grace but to explain why Christians should not undergo ritual circumcision.


#13

Indeed, I assume this passage is what the idea comes from. Still this specific interpretation has not been dogmatically defined.


#14

I saw nothing in the 1439 Bull to the Armenians to indicate it was in response to a problem with the Armenian Christians sometimes undergoing ritual circumcision. The only times circumcision gets mentioned in this bull is when it speaks of Our Lord’s circumcision and the date we celebrate its feast.
(See Session 8 — 22 November 1439)

It was a later Bull to the Copts (Egyptian Christians) in 1442 that addressed the issue of Christians and circumcision. Perhaps there had been some problems with it there.
(See Session 11 — 4 February 1442)

ewtn.com/library/councils/florence.htm#3


#15

There was indeed an issue with members of the Oriental Orthodox Church engaging in circumcision, which whether rightly or not was perceived by the West as a heretical decision to continue the Old Testament “sacrament” as though it were helpful for our salvation. This, I would think, was the reason for addressing the otherwise obscure topic in the statements for them.


closed #16

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