Why wasn't the "Original Creation" made the same as the New Creation one day will be?


#1

We know from Scripture that there will ultimately be a “New Heaven and New Earth” or “New Creation” that will fundamentally change this fallen world of death and imperfection.

But no one today seriously thinks that the Fall of Man fundamentally distorted the original creation, because natural forces that have led to alleged corruption (like disease or natural disasters) have existed since before humanity came on the scene.

So how do we reconcile this? What accounts for the seemingly imperfection and natural evil prior to the Fall of Man, on the one hand, and yet the the eventual perfection of the New Creation on the other hand?

Do we blame fallen angels (who existed before humans)? Or did God set up the world imperfect because he knew humans would fall? What do you think?


#2

If you don’t take the Biblical creation account literally, why do you take things like fallen angels literally?


#3

I do take it literally. Just not literalistically. Church teaching today or in continuity with the days of the early Fathers does not require me to consider there was a literal snake, or a little fruit, or that God literally made creation in 6 days.

But that some kind of Fall for humanity happened IS Christian teaching. And that there will be a New Creation is also Christian teaching.

The idea of fallen angels isn’t central to this thread. I do believe in fallen angels and offered that as a possible explanation for pre-human corruption in the world.


#4

I think the incarnation is the key. Some theologians suggest that God would have eventually become Man even had Man never fallen. It is that union of God and Man, of Creator and Creation in Christ that makes all the difference. Through the incarnation, creation itself is glorified, deified, raised up…


#5

The problem of evil. There are three evils:

  • metaphysical evil: “the limitation by one another of various component parts of the natural world. Through this mutual limitation natural objects are for the most part prevented from attaining to their full or ideal perfection” … “the apparent disorder of nature is really no disorder”
  • moral evil: “the deviation of human volition from the prescriptions of the moral order and the action which results from that deviation”
  • physical evil: “Physical evil includes all that causes harm to man, whether by bodily injury, by thwarting his natural desires, or by preventing the full development of his powers, either in the order of nature directly, or through the various social conditions under which mankind naturally exists.”

"Christian philosophy has, like the Hebrew, uniformly attributed moral and physical evil to the action of created free will. "

Sharpe, A. (1909). Evil. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05649a.htm

I believe the reason for the journey to perfection is that to manifest the image and likeness of God, the free will manifestation of charity must be proven in each rational being.

1 Cor. 9:

24 Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain.


#6

There was no imperfection until the Fall of Man. And natural evil was not present until after God completed His creative endeavors, as attested to in the Creation Story:

_God saw that it was good, _ indicates perfection and the absence of evil. And we see this phrase throughout the account of creation…and on the last day of creation, it was VERY good.

So creation was perfect, and the advent of evil (specifically Satan entering the scene) did not occur until after the Creation.


#7

Hi @RealisticCatholic, this is a very well thought-out question. I’m glad you asked it. Part of the answer that is fairly universally given by those in the Church is “to bring about a greater good.” Taken altogether—the very good creation, the Fall, the age of the covenants, Christ, the age of the Church, all finally culminate to end in a New Heavens and a New Earth where all God’s children eventually see Him in a beatific vision—the “greater good.” There probably is something to this response.

Also, some point out that the struggle of life in a fallen world does give rise to certain virtues that couldn’t exist but for the fallen world. Many have made this point over time. See https://strangenotions.com/why-virtue-requires-an-imperfect-world/ There is definitely truth in that too, and no small truth.

But there is more to it than that. There is something excellent about striving itself. There is something excellent about reaching the goal you set for yourself, one which wasn’t guaranteed and in which you could have failed. But you didn’t. There is similarly something great about the journey, and not just the destination. It makes me think of Bilbo starting off at Bag-end (Eden) where he is innocent of the dangers and wickedness of the wider world, and a wizard and some dwarves enter to cajole him into an adventure—and adventure he’s not keen on taking. And he sets out, away from Bag-end, away from Eden. He has many dangerous and somewhat enjoyable adventures (real life), and eventually when he makes it back to Bag-end, he is changed, for the better. He is wiser and more virtuous because of the journey.

“To bring about a greater good.”

Thoughts?


#8

So it would be fair to say that God intentionally created the Universe with an imperfect nature.

And the Fall of Man is a separate issue, which did not fundamentally affect the imperfection of the Universe.

Even if the Fall of Man had not happened, the Universe would retain natural evils until an eventual one day New Creation?


#9

No, that would not be correct. The world was created perfectly. Man was also created perfectly human, but God also gave him supernatural grace, which elevated him above his ordinary human nature, but not to the level of a glorified nature. In order to understand the consequences of that, we also have to understand that the Trinity is eternally expressing fruitfully, eternally in dialogue. As a part of this trinitarian dialogue, the Son is eternally begotten/generated of the Father … is always, and without ceasing, generated by the Father. Also as part of this dialogue, Divine Charity (the Holy Spirit) proceeds from this generation. We also know that creation is made through the Son. Consequently, if the Son is being eternally begotten, then from the moment the Father said “let it be,” all of creation was intended to be eternally generated through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. The Father can only express what he knows, which is Himself, which is Truth, into creation.

When man sinned, creation could no longer be identified as good … could no longer be an image of God … of Truth and Light. The Father could no longer express creation through the Son, because neither the Son nor the Father are in any part, bad. Creation died because it was no longer able to be expressed by the Trinity. So God held creation in existence by His power and put a plan into place to redeem man and creation. Until that plan is realized, creation ceases to be eternally expressed through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul is telling us in Romans. He tells us that cosmos is in decay. Why? It died along with man. Only that which is dead decays.

When Jesus ascended to the Father with his glorified and physical body, his physical body entered into the eternal Trinitarian dialogue of God. So as Jesus is eternally begotten, so too are those physically united with the Mystical Body of Christ. Those who became united to Jesus in Baptism and the Eucharist were able to be expressed again through that union with his body. This is what Paul means when he tells us to put on the new man … that we become new creations in Christ.

Paul also tells us that creation is groaning in wait for the redemption of the body … our physical nature. When does the redemption of the body become fully realized? At the Resurrection of the body on Judgement Day. When that occurs, all of creation will no longer be in “decay”. St. Hildegard of Bingen was informed by God that man is so gloriously entwined with creation that he could never be separated from it (remember, man was made of dust of the earth). This will be the final “new world … new creation”. As we say in Gloria Patri, “Glory be to the Father … world without end. Amen.” This will be the new Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God, as Augustine terms it.

If you want more details about much of what I said, go here: Creation is an eternal expression of God.


#10

I do - why not? Sin has as much affect on man as it does on creation.


#11

Why wasn’t the “Original Creation” made the same as the New Creation?

Answer: Because we can learn VIRTUE in an imperfect and God organized chaotic world through our sufferings and our tribulations.

Our struggle/ tribulation is the cost which in-prints the virtue, nobility and at the end perfection into our souls.

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310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it?
With infinite power God could always create something better.
But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world in a state of journeying towards its ultimate perfection.
With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.
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302 The universe was created in a state of journeying (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it.
God protects and governs all things which he has made.
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307 God thus enables men to be intelligent and free, causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors.
Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions.
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308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator.
God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
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311 For almighty God. . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.

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CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Divine Providence explains.

He directs all, even evil and sin itself, to the final end for which the universe was created.

Evil He converts into good and suffering He uses as an instrument whereby to train men up as a father traineth up his child

Nor would God permit evil at all, unless He could draw good out of evil (St. Augustine, Enchir, xi in P.L. LX, 236; Serm.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12510a.htm

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2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace PRECEDES, PREPARES, and ELICITS the free response of man.

God effects everything, the willing and the achievement. … (Thomas Aquinas, S. Th.II/II 4, 4 ad 3).

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1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: … it is true that God desires all men to be saved" ( 1 Tim 2:4), and that for him all things are possible ( Mt 19:26).
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The Holy Spirit would not inspire the Church to pray for the salvation of everyone if it would be not possible.

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412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning?
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!
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God bless


#12

[quote]
But no one today seriously thinks that the Fall of Man fundamentally distorted the original creation,… [\quote]

There is a sense in which the entire world was corrupted according to Scripture. For Paul wrote that all of creation groans.

To clarify there was no moral evil prior to the Fall on man. Adam and Eve lived in a state of Original Justice (Grace) in which they did not die or get sick.

But what explains death and disease amongst animals prior to the fall. For instance is it safe to assume lions were still meat eaters. And plants would have at least died when eaten.

I think entropy in our universe explains natural death and decay. That is things go naturally towards a disordered state over time. This is not a moral evil, but the result of living in a physical universe governed by physical causes and physical laws. Yes, God allows secondary causes.

However, we are told Adam and Eve were not subject to these natural decaying laws because they were protected by supernatural grace. And it was this supernatural grace that was lost through the fall, thus subjecting man to the same decay as the animals.

But why was man protected from decay in the first place? Was it not because man is a supernatural being, part animal, part poltergeist? We were created in God’s image in order to know God. For man walked with God in the garden. But, when he chose sin over God he became less like God and was left to suffer the fate of the animals. And all of creation would in some way feel this effect. For the supernatural order affects the physical. No longer would the land yield its fruit easily but man would have to work hard and it would produce little as part of his punishment.

So there was a test. The angels were tested to see if they would serve God. And man was tested as well. God allowed man to be tempted. It seems as though God didn’t want robots but he wanted us to be able to choose. For without choice how could there be love? He knew we would fall. But He also knew how He would save us through the Incarnation and Christ’s death and Resurrection. These are all Mysteries that we do not yet fully understand. Yet, we know that love is the greatest reason for them all, and will in the end remain. God’s ultimate salvation will involve restoring everything lost due to the Fall including raising our mortal bodies from the dead so that we might live in everlasting union with God as originally intended.


#13

God saw all that He had made and behold it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning the sixth day.

Genesis 1:31

Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you And you will eat the plants of the field

Genesis 3:18


#14

I’ve got to go with a reaction akin to @KevinK’s: if you don’t take the creation account literally, why are you taking the ‘Fall of Adam’ account literally?

The Catechism tells us that the account of Genesis 3 is a figurative account. In symbolic language, it tells a story of a real occurrence – the sin of our first truly human parents, and the notion that our sin has cosmic effects.

I think that the reconciliation might be found in the theological understanding that in this “vale of tears”, we find the opportunities to perceive God’s mercy; in the imperfections of the present world, we find the promises of eternal perfection in heaven. This is a theological premise, not a scientific one (after all, science just isn’t equipped to talk about eternal realities). So, we let theology be theology and not try to make it science ; and we let science be science and not try to make it be theology.

(If it’s still bending your head, think about this one: Mary was immaculately conceived, right? Due to the merits of the salvation that Christ won for humanity, right? But… Mary was conceived almost 50 years before Jesus’ death and resurrection. How could that happen? It’s the same question you’re asking here, but just phrased in terms of the cosmos. Perhaps, if we’re thinking theologically, we might say that the distortion of creation prior to the fall of humanity actually prefigures the beginnings of the restoration of creation (beginning with Mary) prior to the temporal salvific actions of Christ. :wink: )


#15

Because science tells us otherwise, and faith and reason cannot be in conflict.

The Fall may have disturbed Man’s relationship with creation, but it’s totally anti-science to say the Fall somehow re-configured the laws of nature to allow for tornadoes, earthquakes, mass extinctions, etc. These are the very processes that allowed our Earth and life to form in the first place!


#16

I’ve got to go with a reaction akin to @KevinK’s: if you don’t take the creation account literally, why are you taking the ‘Fall of Adam’ account literally?

I take it exactly as the Catechism says: Genesis uses figurative language. It is not a scientific account. But the Church affirms that the Fall of Man was a real event.

That’s all.


#17

It’s unscientific and against the purposes of Genesis to believe “thorns” didn’t exist until after the Fall of Man.


#18

I attribute creation to God, nothing else. Blessings.


#19

Actually, you might want to re-read the Catechism. It makes that claim for parts of Genesis, not Genesis in general. But, you’re correct – it says that Genesis chapter 3 uses figurative language.

So… if it’s figurative, then why do you presume that the entry of decay and death in the world happens linearly (and temporally) with the the ‘fall’ event? Couldn’t the figurative language simply be telling us that the cause of decay is sin, without implying that the timing of decay is temporally subsequent to the timing of sin?


#20

Two points: first, you already admitted that the Genesis account of the fall isn’t ‘scientific’. Why are you, then, railing against it for being… unscientific?

Second, what does “against the purposes of Genesis” mean, and how have you determined that this is the case?


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