Original vs. ancestral sin


#1

the eastern orthodox teach that we have inherited the disease of death by the ancestral sin of Adam- the effects of his sin but not his guilt. There is a verse in Ezekiel that seems to back them up about the sins of the fathers and each dying for his own sin, not others.

yet the RC say we are born with Adam’s guilt, which the eo blame Augustine for, saying he had a bad understanding of Greek, and an obsession with his early lustful life. :shrug:

How do I determine which is right, since both eo and rc come from the same early church? Do try not to say b/c of Peter/rock. The eo have arguments against that too. Not that it’s a bad argument, but an overused one. :wink:

oneseeker


#2

RC Catechism

The consequences of Adam’s sin for humanity
402 All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned."289 The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. "Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.“290
403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam’s sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the “death of the soul”.291 Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.292
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”.293 By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” - a state and not an act.
405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
406 The Church’s teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine’s reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam’s fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297


#3

By the term “guilt”, the Latin tradition isn’t saying that the descendents of Adam are guilty of Adam’s sin. In fact, the Latin term translated as “guilt” into English has a more nuanced meaning in Latin, more akin to “consequences of a crime”.

The Catholic teaching therefore is the same as the Eastern Orthodox fundamentally, but would expand to include more than just death, such as including a tendency to sin due to disordered appetites and the like. Death isn’t the only consequence, after all.

Peace and God bless!


#4

Dear oneseeker,

The Latin Catholic Church has a theological language all its own that is quite different from the language of the world. Many terms used by the Catholic Church have specific theological meanings that do not coincide with the way the world commonly understands these words. The term “guilt” is one of these theological terms. It does NOT mean “personal blame,” which is how the world understands the term.

In the specific theological language of the Latin Catholic Church, “guilt” means nothing more nor less than the absence of original justice. What we have inherited is “guilt” NOT as personal blame for what Adam did, but “guilt” as in a lack of original justice in our souls which Adam had lost due to the first sin. Give heed to what the Catholic Catechism states as quoted above in Section 405: “Original sin does not have the character of a personal fault.

BTW, if you investigate the Coptic Orthodox Church, you will find the same theological language used that the Latin Catholic Church uses regarding “guilt” and “original justice.” You may not find it among the Eastern Orthodox, but not all Orthodox Churches are Eastern Orthodox. The Coptic Orthodox Church is part of the Oriental (NOT Eastern) Orthodox family of Churches. We all have the SAME FAITH regarding the matter. It is simply that we have different doctrinal formulations/wordings to teach the same thing.

Blessings,
Marduk


#5

Thank you! I have honestly never understood the difference between Original Sin and Ancestral Sin. It seems like they are the exact same thing using slightly different terms.


#6

[quote="oneseeker, post:1, topic:105206"]
the eastern orthodox teach that we have inherited the disease of death by the ancestral sin of Adam- the effects of his sin but not his guilt. There is a verse in Ezekiel that seems to back them up about the sins of the fathers and each dying for his own sin, not others.

yet the RC say we are born with Adam's guilt, which the eo blame Augustine for, saying he had a bad understanding of Greek, and an obsession with his early lustful life. :shrug:

How do I determine which is right, since both eo and rc come from the same early church? Do try not to say b/c of Peter/rock. The eo have arguments against that too. Not that it's a bad argument, but an overused one. ;)

oneseeker

[/quote]

I think it's safe to say that, in Catholic teaching, an injustice resides in man-and that injustice consists of the very separation from God-lack of faith, hope, and ultimately and most importantly, love for God-that we're born with in this world. This is the lost condition of man, which Jesus came to save us from. And so, in place of these virtues, in place of the grace to live them out, in place of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live them out, is the rebellious attitude, the lack of faith, hope, and love, a preference for ourselves over and above God that we do battle with and which needs to be finally reconciled. So we either choose to carry on the family tradition by continuing on in sin or we turn away from it and back to God. While this condition can be referred to as spiritual death, physical death, in this scenario, is only part of the problem IMO.


closed #7

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