Why did God choose to punish so severely

Why did God choose to punish so severely his two feeble, naive, ignorant, humans and all their descendants for a sin that any normal curious human might commit. And do apparently nothing to really punish the devil who caused them to do so? OK, so he had to crawl on his belly, etc. That’s what serpents do. Big deal. And then decide to send his son, actually himself, to die to make amends to himself for their sin. After his bruised ego was satisfied, did humans improve their lot in any way? No, they were and are still being punished. They were no better off after Christ died than before? They still got ill, had accidents, died, etc. I’ve been asked this by atheist friends, and am unable to respond. It does seem to make the entire bible story seem just a fairy tale.

I’m interested in hearing the Catholic (and other) responses to this question.

Of course, the Jewish take is quite different. HaSatan is testing us and ordered by G-d to do so. We are not punished for the sins of Adam and Eve since there is no original sin. While they disobeyed G-d and were thus expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were, at the same time, granted the ability to choose to fulfill their human potential in life (free will), which was the result of G-d’s love for them and for us. Adam and Eve could never have done this in their sheltered environment of paradise with all their needs being taken care of by G-d.

Please refer to the current thread “Is Genesis 2:15-17 an explanation of Original Sin?” in the Sacred Scripture Forum. I started an alphabetical list of responses in post 306. I am now on letter G.

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=14191779&postcount=306

“When I say a “bit of time” is needed – that is time to research the general everyday natural unnecessary confusion covering A to Z of Catholicism – “time” can extend into weeks.”

And the attitude of your atheist friends is so open-minded here. :rolleyes: These are merely excuses for hating God. Yes, hating God. They don’t disbelieve in God–they obviously hate him. No one calls anyone names like these unless they hate the person. Duh!

As long as your atheist friends have this attitude they will not be convinced by any argument you can offer. They’ve made up their minds. They are twisting everything to fit their hatred of God and then throwing in in your face, and you’re supposed to come up with an answer that will satisfy them? It ain’t gonna happen. Not unless and until they give up their hatred and humble themselves enough to listen.

These kinds of questions have been asked and answered ad nauseum on CAF by this kind of atheist, and guess what? No answer ever made them happy. It’s not because there are no cogent answers, it’s because they are not disposed to listen. They are the hard ground into which the seed could not penetrate and grow that Jesus talked about in the parable of the Sower and the Seed. Ask them if any answer you might give would change their minds. If they are honest they’ll say no. I wouldn’t waste my time, but you can pray for them. Only the Holy Spirit can break through such hatred, not any amount of reasoning no matter how good it might be.

Ah, I’ll keep it short and simple: God didn’t choose, we chose (to continue in our sin). This is really the grand narrative of Christianity overall, leading to redemption in Jesus Christ and the foundations of something elaborate.

I heard a very good analogy about this today. We can liken it to a parent warning their child not to touch the hot stove or they’ll be burned. The parent is not saying that he will burn the child, but that being burnt is a natural consequence of touching something hot.

This video is a very good exegesis of the story of the fall, starting at about 8:50 mark. It’s a talk given to an RCIA class.

And I thank you for the Jewish take.

Mary.

I would tell these people to take a hike. Then after they cleared their minds I’d tell them to do their homework and look into the religion they are criticizing.
After that, I’d tell them that the infinite God created us in his merciful love. He showered innumerable graces upon us to lead us to him. We freely chose to rebel against his moral law, and thus rejecting him. Out of love, this God becomes a man, and is annihilated on a cross to redeem us, is still annihilated by shutting himself up into a little host to feed the souls of those who he loves. While Adam and Eve were the old order, Jesus (the New Adam) and Mary (New Eve) is the new order. He gives an infinite gift to us, in order that we may be engulfed in his mercy. To see those people who are better off with God, they can look into the saints who repented accepted his grace.
Some examples would be Bl Bartolo Longo, St Augustine of Hippo, St. Angela of Foligno, St Margaret of Cortona. Some saints started off horrible, and could have been damned if God practiced his justice, but in his mercy he made them into saints because they heard his voice and didn’t harden their hearts. Those atheist friends can also become great saints.

I agree, God did punish Adam and Eve very severely.

We are held temporally responsible for their sins and the sins of our ancestors. I struggle with this and still don’t know the answer to why.

The short answer is solidarity. I recommend this piece by Father Z for the full explanation: wdtprs.com/blog/2016/09/ask-father-why-are-we-responsible-for-the-sin-of-adam-and-eve-when-werent-there/

The Catholic Church clearly teaches that we are not temporally responsible for Adam’s Original Sin. Common sense should teach us that we are not the Original Humans; therefore, we cannot commit the Original Sin. I put this teaching in bold in CCC 405.
CCC 405 Although it is proper to each individual,
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.

As for the sins of our ancestors – We are not in the movie “Back to the Future” or whatever it is called.

From link.
The simple answer is: We are all in this together.
The human race has great solidarity.
When our First Parents committed the Original Sin, the entire human race sinned. The human race at the time consisted only of two people, but that was the entire race that sinned.

Yes, humankind has great solidarity. But this does not mean that the entire human race sinned physically with Adam as he freely chose to reject his Creator God.

What probably happened in this link was that the explanation of Adam’s descendants in De Malo 4, 1. (footnote 293, CCC 404) has been exaggerated or twisted. The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man.” … “all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice.” (CCC 404) Please note that “implicated” does not necessarily mean physical presence at the same time. All humankind was not present physically with Jesus hanging bloody.

Fortunately for readers, the link gets back on tract with these two sentences.
“We are not guilty of Original Sin by imitation, but by natural generation. The fact that we descend from our First Parents means that we, too, have the effects of Original Sin.”

Unfortunately, readers may not know enough about Adam and his original friendship relationship with Divinity. Thus, they may use "solidarity in the wrong sense.

Here is another misleading sentence from the link.
" Original Sin is a different matter. We are guilty of the sin of our First Parents because we belong to the human race and, hence, because that guilt is transmitted to every member of the human race through the fact of our generation."

CCC 405 is important.
In addition, please note that the State of Original Sin is a deprivation. It is a state “contracted” not “committed.” (CCC 404)
CCC 405 Although it is proper to each individual, 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.

Continuation from post 12.

One more thought on the difference between “imitation” and “generation” in this sentence from the link.
“We are guilty of the sin of our First Parents because we belong to the human race and, hence, because that guilt is transmitted to every member of the human race through the fact of our generation.”

In CCC 416, the “original holiness and justice” aka State of Sanctifying Grace, refers to the person Adam. Adam’s human nature was in the State of Original Holiness and Justice. It is the state of Adams human nature, now deprived of Original Holiness due to his personal action, which we inherit by generation…

In CCC 417, it is Adam’s State of Deprivation of Original Holiness and Justice which is transmitted to descendants. The guilt for the action of Original Sin belongs to Adam. What is transmitted to descendants by generation is the wounded nature of Adam and Eve, that is, the State of Deprivation. The personal guilt of Adam is not passed to descendants because we cannot imitate his personal action in the Garden. This Garden is gone.

**CCC 416 **By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

**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”.

You are the recipient of a human nature which enables you, that is, which makes you forever eligible for joy eternal in heaven. :thumbsup:

The true question is not **Why? **The true question is How? :thumbsup:

It is God, Himself, Who gave you the “How”. :thumbsup:

Your unique human nature is in the image of God. Genesis 1: 26-27. This means you have a spiritual soul so that you can share in God’s Life. This is the State of Sanctifying Grace aka Adam’s State of Original Holiness. You have the dignity of a true person who can choose one’s actions. CCC 356; CCC 1730-1732. Therefore, you can freely choose to eventually reside, following bodily death, in the joy filled presence of your Creator aka the Beatific Vision. CCC Glossary, Beatific Vision, page 867. :thumbsup:

You, as a real living person in time and space, are only responsible for your choices. There is no way on planet earth that you can return to the Garden of Eden. :thumbsup:

Because you are not eligible for time travel backwards, you cannot claim temporally responsibility for the first human’s Original Sin. :smiley:

And I agree with that.

I know we are not temporally responsible for the sins of Adam and Eve, nor for the sins of our ancestors.

But we are HELD temporally responsible. You will notice we are not in the Garden of Eden. You will notice that we have not had concupiscence removed.

Two different things.

This explanation talks about being responsible versus being held temporally responsible (my objection) - so it doesn’t answer my objection.

No, I am the recipient of a fallen human nature, which has concupiscence up the ying-yang. This fallen nature causes me to fall more times than the stock market.

The way things are, simply existing, means I go to hell, that is the default setting. Only if I endure horrific suffering through a lifetime, and add the grace of God, MAYBE I can get a chance to get in.

Therefore, you can freely choose to eventually reside, following bodily death, in the joy filled presence of your Creator aka the Beatific Vision.

How free is someone who is imperfect to choose? Not fully free.

A buggy program will crash the computer. No choice in that. The imperfections (bugs) cause the crash.

You, as a real living person in time and space, are only responsible for your choices.

I agree, I am responsible for my choices, but am held temporally responsible for the choices of others.

There is no way on planet earth that you can return to the Garden of Eden. :thumbsup:

Because we are temporally held responsible for the sins of Adam and Eve.

Because you are not eligible for time travel backwards, you cannot claim temporally responsibility for the first human’s Original Sin. :smiley:

I’m not claiming temporal responsibility for Adam and Eve’s sin. I know I am not responsible, either temporally or spiritually, for the sin of Adam and Eve. This is Church teaching and I agree with it.

However, I am temporally held temporally responsible without any choice or say in the matter. I don’t have a choice in the matter. As are all of us on this planet, in this valley of tears.

That’s how I understand it BobCatholic. Tiptoeing over this issue is hard to understand.

Our fallen human nature leads us to doom. Not:p many can overcome it on their own. It is a way of suffering, opposite to what our fallen human likes. The Savior only saves us insomuch we discard that fallen human nature and it won’t be easy. So in a way we are held responsible for the sin of Adam and Eve.

To BobCatholic

Apparently, I have failed on this thread. However, I have done my best in posting on this thread.
I cannot do more than that. You are in my prayers.

Blessings,
granny

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