Original sin

Anonymous, you have to keep in mind that God is infinitely just and that, for all His infinite power, there are certain things where He is powerless.  To name a few: He cannot lie to himself (or to us), he cannot stop being God, and He cannot contradict Himself. 

Another thing you have to keep in mind when contemplating the mystery of the original sin, and of sin in general, is precisely that it’s a mystery (misterium iniquitatis). That’s another thing God cannot do: He can’t reveal all mysteries. Or, said it in a different way, God without mystery would not be really God. (I could explain this further if needed).
And last, but not least, keep in mind that even though we are all created by God, Adam and Eve’s act of creation is of a different kind. When God created Adam and Eve, His creation act, besides being out of nothing, was twofold: he created both the individual human and its human nature.  When He creates us, he only creates the individual; the human nature we inherit from our parents, who inherited from theirs, and so on, until reaching the first human couple.

I think the right question would be why did Adam and Eve have the “power” to affect human nature.  The answer to this question (if it can be called answer at all), I haven’t found it, but I have a theory. I’m not certain this is orthodox catholic doctrine, but it (kind of) makes sense to me.  I believe they had that power because they possessed human nature in its totality. We share in a human nature with billions of other individuals, so our personal sins cannot affect it, unless we coordinate with the rest of humankind to commit the same sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, humankind sinned. Under this light, it’s understandable the concern of the Church with the theory of evolution: if we don’t descend from one single couple that lived and sinned in a time when nobody else lived, all the framework of our faith crumbles.

And one more thing: don’t let yourself be fooled by the simplicity inherent to the allegorical nature of the Genesis tale. First of all, the magnitud of a sin can’t be judge independently from the circumstances of the sinner, in this case somebody without the inclination of the nature that we must nowadays overcome, and many other preternatural gifts that we don’t possess.  Sin is always something terrible, probably absurd from a divine standpoint, and in their case even more so considering that they lived in a state of infinite bliss. It wasn’t the reaction of somebody overwhelmed by their own weaknesses against the seeming arbitrariness of an incomprehensible ruler.  Theirs was an unjustified act of rebellion, of disobedience against somebody whom they perfectly well knew only deserved their eternal gratitude. Many centuries later, the “obedience to the point of death, and death on a cross” of another man that would replace Adam and Eve in their primacy, was needed to undo, to cancel out the first disobedience. The contemplation alone of all the sufferings of that Man that was also God so His sacrifice would have the infinite power to erase an infinite offense and an infinite number of other offenses, should serve as a clue to the gravity of that original sin, that incomprehensible “misterium iniquitatis.”

And as for them not knowing good from evil, that’s in my understanding an error in your interpretation. I believe they knew perfectly well the evil they were doing; their faculties were definitely clearer than ours, which are clouded precisely by the wound inflicted by them on our human nature. The devil’s temptation was not to understand from a human perspective, but to understand as God understands. The temptation was to understand in the same way of a God whose knowledge alone had not only creative power, but also the power to make things good or bad.  It was a temptation to usurp the place of their own Creator and Supreme ruler. And it’s, by the way, the greatest temptation of modern man, to become autonomous from God, to be to himself his only ruler, to claim the power to decide what is good and what is evil. 

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Why do I write?

It might not be the catchiest title, but I have to start somewhere. My first readers (if such rare species ever comes into existence) will be granted the dubious privilege of suggesting better ones. Not only for this particular post but rather for the title of the whole blog, which doesn’t feel very catchy either.

Freedom, love and sex have been troubling and recurring subjects since very early in my thinking life, and I don’t seem able to shake them off, no matter for how long I put them on hold. I found freedom troubling, because there wouldn’t be evil in the world if men weren’t free. Then again, if they weren’t free, they would be incapable of loving. But that came later; at the beginning I couldn’t see the connection. And maybe for the same reason I found love troublesome, especially when I found out how easy it was for me to fall in love  (and, shame of shames, out of it too).

And then, sex. I still think a lot about sex nowadays. You see, sex was not a big question for me until I was almost thirty. I knew it was a participation in man and woman of the power of God to create new human lives. I knew man was called to be co-creator with God and populate the earth. And I knew about the teachings of the Church about extra-marital sex, and the basic tenets contained Paul VI’s much loathed Humanae Vitae encyclical on contraception. And then I knew these teachings were controversial (to say the least) and considered by many as repressive. Then again, sex wasn’t part of my life so I didn’t pay much more attention to the subject.

Before I go any further, let me put it out there: I’m a Catholic. It would have become obvious pretty soon anyways, and I don’t want you thinking that I’m trying to surreptitiously sneak in your head my own beliefs, my “agenda,”as they like to say nowadays. I may well be doing just that, but not surreptitiously. I know, I sound like I have some kind of inferiority complex or something. I know I shouldn’t apologize for writing about what I believe. After all, everybody writes about what they believe.

I just downloaded this app to write blogs, WordPress, and in their front page (or somewhere) they feature some blogs. I don’t know if they have some selection criteria, or if it’s random; it doesn’t really matter. I browsed some of them, out of curiosity, with no criteria in mind whatsoever (yes, this time I know it was a random selection), and my eyes somehow rested in a blog about “spanking” and the “spanking community”. I found out that the writer for this blog believes that spanking is a “fetish” (not a “kink”) that for her and some other people is a sexual activity more important than “traditional” (“missionary?”) sex. Furthermore, being a spanker is a whole differentiated sexual orientation on it’s own right. Of course there’s nothing wrong with her writing about what she believes in, and some people might even go the extra mile and find this praiseworthy, even heroic. She doesn’t really mean to impose her beliefs or “agenda” on anybody, even if she’d be glad to find out that something she wrote helped a fellow spanker to find the courage to come out of the spanking closet.

Well, I’m like the spanking writer. I’m just somebody with a particular experience of life, somebody who has pondered certain issues, and found certain interesting questions and points of view about them. I believe that, even if the insights might not be entirely new, I reached them and articulated them in an original (at least personal) manner. So original that at times they may come across in a bizarre sort of way, in the same way that spanking might come across to some.

Anyway, when I was close to turning 30, I fell in love bad enough and for long enough to make a crazy commitment (of my whole life!) before I was falling out of love again. Then, all of a sudden, I was confronted with feelings hitherto little known to me, or with an intensity that made them seem completely new. So I went back to what I had learned for many years, and was appalled at how hard to live and how difficult to understand were those Church teachings that had seemed so simple and easy. Don’t get me wrong, nobody had ever told me it was easy, so I intellectually knew that it was supposed to be hard, very hard. But one thing is knowing something with your intellect, and a very different one is knowing it with your body, and living it in your daily life.

For many good reasons, we Christians believe that God revealed himself and told us a bunch of things about Himself, like, for example, that He’s our creator. He also told us some things about us, his creatures. He didn’t give us a whole lot of information or details about, for example, how He created us. But I believe that He did give us enough clues so we could use our reasoning and reach some conclusions; enough, at least, to enable us to orient and take ourselves down the path to the common goal of every human being: happiness.

Thoughts that come to me and don't stop nagging