Why Did God Let Man Sin [Akin]

http://jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/adam_and_eve-300x225.jpgI’ve read the Catechism before, but that doesn’t stop things from leaping out at me when I’m going through it.

Today something leapt out that deals with the problem of evil, even though it wasn’t in the section on the problem of evil. It deals with the question of why God allowed original sin to take place.

Here’s what it says:

412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, “Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away.”*and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!’”

The answers provided by Leo the Great, Aquinas, Paul, and the Exsultet all converge on the idea that God allowed man to fall into sin because he knew he could bring about a greater good by doing so.

This does not necessarily mean a greater good for every individual (e.g., people who commit mortal sin and decide to stay there may not end up with a greater benefit in the long run, although this is itself arguable), but it does mean that there will be greater net good in general.



I really like that painting that depicts Adam scratching his head as he takes the fruit from Eve. I can’t help but think that this incident happened on his wedding day because realistically if it hadn’t Cain would have been conceived without original sin. Don’t you think? To me, the takeaway is Adam’s undoing was not knowing enough to call on God in his moment of temptation. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:46

Granted that CCC 412 is interesting; however, to understand the whole picture we need to explore the Catholic teachings on human nature, Genesis 1: 27,and Original Sin, Genesis 2: 15-17.

The universal Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, presents the needed basics in CCC 1730-1732 and CCC 396. In addition, one could add the obvious truth that there cannot be two equal supreme primary Gods at the same time. According to Catholicism, the truth is that Adam deliberately ignored the limitations of his own creature nature. This action of the original human shattered the original relationship between humankind and the Divine Creator.

I wouldn’t ask “Why did God let them sin”

I’d ask “Why did God create them imperfect so it was far easier for them to sin.”

Buggy software crashes, one does not punish the software.

Where does it suggest that Genesis 1: 27 made an imperfect human? Considering the science of agriculture in Genesis 2: 15-17, and the biology in Genesis 2: 20, I would offer that Adam has rational tools which would be the “perfection” of human nature.

Also, I may be older than dirt, but I certainly would not consider the idea that buggy software is an accurate description of my human nature. (CCC 355 - 421)

God created humans in his image - we have his dignity, not his perfection.

Adam & Eve had one or more of the following imperfections:

pride - they believed they knew better than God
stupidity - they believed stupid stuff told them by the snake
naivete - they believed anything anyone told them, including a snake.

Except we’re not software or algorothms but rational beings with free will, and if that’s what we are and how we were created, then I’ll assume God wanted that over walking algorithms.

whose free will was reduced due to imperfections, then punished as if they had full free will.

Why would God create us imperfect?

Please, a bit of clarification. Intellective free choice is spiritual; therefore, the material world cannot reduce it per se. The material world can prevent the actions of free will. Still , free will remains because it is a direct gift of the Divine Creator. Genesis 1: 27 Genesis 2: 15-17; Genesis 3: 9.

Here are links to the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. May I respectfully suggest that you study CCC 1730-1732. CCC 20-21 explains the use of small print.




Is there no proper place for pride and innocence?

Why are you insistent that we were made imperfect? As free, rational beings, we need to have the real option of making our own choices.

When we ponder the valid question “But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning?’ (CCC 412) – we need to explore the major Catechism section CCC 355-421 including the paragraph 396 cross-reference CCC 1730 and the first three chapters of Genesis. The proposal “that God allowed man to fall into sin because he knew he could bring about a greater good by doing so.” is indicated in CCC 410, the Protoevangelium, Genesis 3:15, footnote 304.

The real question is – What is basic human nature as designed by God? Genesis 1: 27 is a beginning. CCC 356 is key because it gives the purpose of Genesis 1: 27. CCC 1730-1732 explains the ultimate difference between man and the creatures in Genesis 1: 20-25.


CCC 1730 “man a rational being” is the foundational answer as to why God did not prevent the first man from sinning.

Free will is free will, regardless of how you want to call it.

If someone is drunk, they are less likely to make good decisions. Their alcoholism is an imperfection. This imperfection reduces their free will.

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. It is an imperfection.

They were created in original innocence, innocence is not an imperfection.

I’m saying that they had imperfections.

Pride: “I know better than God does”

Naivete: They’ll believe anything that anyone tells them.

Stupidity: They believed the snake telling them a bunch of garbage.

Imperfections reduce free will but hey, they still got punished as if they had full free will.

So you know better than God?

Nope. I have an imperfection of not knowing everything that is needed to be known.

I also have an imperfection of not having God’s phone number on Speed Dial so I can ask him to give me information.

Not being God doesn’t make mankind as created by God flawed.

True, but having imperfections does make mankind flawed.

Perhaps terminology is the problem here. Please, what is your own interpretation of Genesis 1: 27?

God created us in his own image, meaning we have his dignity.

He did not create us with his perfection, thus we are imperfect and fail.

Have you considered the obvious fact that if God created us with His Perfection, there would be billions of gods as our neighbor gods? Instead of War of the Worlds, it would be a War of Neighbor Perfections.

Maybe you better smile at your Perfection god neighbors. :wink:

God created the angels perfect. They’re not gods. No war there.

God created Mommy Mary perfect. No war there.

Are you purposely misinterpreting what I’m saying?

If God created us perfect, none of this mess would have happened. Adam and Eve would have laughed at the serpent’s pathetic attempt at temptation, and never had sinned.

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