A.Suarez's Treatment on a Pope's Formulation for Original Sin's Transmission!

(Antoine Suarez) #341

It looks as if we all agree upon the following three points:

  1. God “plans for the future”, which is the Kingdom of God.

  2. Our spiritual souls come from God.

  3. “God does not give us sin”, He is not the source of sin.

So I dare to continue the discussion by expanding on the preceding points:

All possible histories are contained in God’s mind and their end is God’s Kingdom, “the actual future”. God looks at all possible histories from this end.

The history without sin is in principle possible. It would have been rather weird that in such a history humans were submitted by God to illness, suffering, and death. For the same reason it seems fitting to assume that in the beginning God creates humans in a stage of original Grace (Albert Leo‘s “original blessing”) so that they were completely free to love God: The only sin they could commit was that of pride (they were not hampered by fleshly tendencies to sin).

For all possible histories where sin happens, God could have planned that those who sin are cast away without possibility to atone, and the earth is populated only by righteous people at any time.

However we know by Revelation that God loves us so much that sent His Son into the world to save the sinners. In this sense we have already concluded in previous postings that God’s suffering Love is something intrinsic to the Holy Trinity (as the paintings of the “Throne of mercy” magnificently illustrate).

This amount to say that God’s redeeming Love extends to all possible histories and all possible sins: To save the sinners God lets them on earth in a stage of “need of Redemption”, that is lacking “original Grace”.

From our perspective God’s plan of Redemption is triggered by the first sin in history. In this sense this first sin can be called “original” because it initiates the stage where humans are in need of Redemption. So what is transmitted after the first sin to each future generation is the “stage of need of Redemption” or “lack of original Grace”. God adds no “touch of sin” (no spiritual damage) to “the souls he delivers to the womb”.

From God’s perspective each sin is like the first one: it “contributes” to God’s death on the Cross.

So, in my view, the Multiverse may also be useful to approach “the mystery of the original sin”: From our perspective the original sin is the first sin in history, the sin that actualizes God’s plan of Redemption and initiates the stage of “need of Redemption”, in which humanity is till God’s Kingdom comes at the end of time.

(Albert Leo) #342

Antoine, I appreciate your mentioning my previous posts on Original Blessing, but in reading this paragraph ‘thru the eyes’ of someone not familiar with my posts, these readers would probably misinterpret my position; Using evolution, over a period of more than a billion years, God created the primate species, Homo sapiens, which the science of anthropology considers as ‘humankind’. However, for theological discussions, these early Homo sapiens had the potential to become the creatures that God intended–i.e.,made in His Image–but were not there yet. Only when they became endowed with Mind and Conscience, could they choose to rise above their animal natures and fulfill their spiritual destiny.

IMHO much of what we now designate as Sin results from the ‘selfish genes’ that were instrumental in producing the early Homo sapiens. But, like all animal life that acts on instinct, God could not ‘hold them responsible’ for the behavior he instilled in them. By whatever mechanism Homo sapiens acquired a Conscience, it did NOT immediately confer an ‘Original grace’ that freed them from ‘fleshly tendencies to sin’. It took the Incarnation of Jesus and his message of love to lead us to that goal.
Al Leo


Al, it takes two things to be held responsible for your sin. The first is a conscience as you say. And then you have to have the maturity to understand why not following your conscience is wrong. Which is where we get the age of accountability.

(Albert Leo) #344

Right on, Bill. But perhaps it is one and the same thing: When we reach the age of accountability, it is only then that we become (for theological purposes) truly human.
Al Leo


I would have a problem considering, for example, a 6 month old baby as less than truly human even if only in a theological sense. Perhaps instead of truly human we could just say a mature human for theological purposes.

(Antoine Suarez) #346

Me too I would have a problem.

To avoid the problem it may help considering that:

  1. It is impossible by biological means to establish which creature is the first Homo sapiens.

  2. It is possible today to establish definitely on the basis of observable features which animal is a human and which is a chimp. The reason for this possibility is the disappearance of intermediate varieties between humans and chimps. (see Essay).

Taking account of these two facts it seems reasonable to assume that God conferred the sense of accountability to one or several human individuals at the dawn of Civilisation. Before this moment God could not ‘hold them responsible’ for the behavior he instilled in them.

At the same time He did confer “an ‘Original grace’ that freed them from ‘fleshly tendencies to sin’.” In any case this ‘Original grace’ derives from “the Incarnation of Jesus and his message of love” since, as discussed in previous postings, the history without sin is in principle possible, and also in this history God’s Son becomes flesh as completion of Creation: God’s love is one:

In the view I am proposing the first sin (the “original sin”) is one of pure pride, and leads to the loss of “Original grace”. It is the lack of Original Grace what becomes transmitted to future generations: The Christian Teaching about "transmission of the stage of need of Redemption (‘stage of original sin’), does not require any biological common descent (neither genetic nor genealogical).


So by one person’s sin everyone else suffers the consequence. Sounds like Original Sin in a slightly different package.

(Albert Leo) #348

Antoine and @Bill_II, it is not a surprise to me that you both have a problem with my statement about ‘when we become fully human’ and when and we just potentially human. I think we can all agree that a human sperm and human egg deserve respect because they contain the amazing information that, when combined and properly nurtured, will result in a human being. But the are NOT human. Do they become fully human (and have full human rights) at the moment the two meet and fuse? Catholic dogma, as well as many Protestants, hold to this belief which is certainly reasonable. All the humans we admire had to go through this stage: Newton, Mozart, Mother Teresa, etc. (It would not destroy my Christian Faith if I learned that even Jesus did.)
But only God knows how many promising zygotes have been conceived that do not pass all the hurdles before birth (e.g. implantation, invagination). Probably as many as one-third fail. Are these to be treasured and given the same rights and respect as the Smiles Train M.D. or Doctors Without Borders who spend their lives alleviating human suffering? I think not. The current controversy over ‘abortion rights (?)’ proves that honest, rational people can differ fundamentally on this subject. For dozens of millennia humans have struggled vainly with this problem; e.g. a migratory hunter-gatherer woman 8 months pregnant or nursing when the clan had to move. It is not likely we will ever find a solution outside "the incarnation of Jesus and his message of love’.
Al Leo


Which is why I leave drawing the line in God’s capable hands. Since I don’t have God’s wisdom the safe bet for me is to draw the line as early as possible.

(Albert Leo) #350

That’s always the wisest course. Besides He may not need to ‘draw as many lines’ as we do.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #351

I would like to formulate things a bit more accurately:

From God’s perspective “the stage of need of Redemption” (or “lack of Original Grace”) is the consequence of all sins humans can do and God’s will to redeem the sinners (Romans 3:23-24, 11:32).

From our perspective this stage is obviously triggered by the first sin in human history (the original sin). If at this moment there were other humans who did not sin (in my view Melchizedek can be interpreted as such a one), these would not have suffered the consequences of the first sin.

(George Brooks) #352


Hey… so far, so good. Are you willing to say that each generation produces its own sin, and that there is no such thing as “Original Sin” passed on to these generations?


No, but I would say that each person commits their own “original sin”. What gets passed on “through Adam” is our human nature which can not help but to sin on it’s own. But please don’t tell my pastor. He would pitch a fit.

(Antoine Suarez) #354

I understand this claim in the following sense:

Any sin would have been the “original sin”, if it had been the first sin in human history.

This also fits with my view: “Adam’s sin” (the first sin in human history) triggers God’s Redemption plan and initiates “the stage of need of Redemption”. In this stage “human nature” lacks the original Grace and “can not help but to sin on it’s own”.

Nonetheless this does not exclude that before the first sin free and accountable humans were endowed by God with original Grace to overcome fleshy tendencies. Indeed, from God’s perspective the history without sin is in principle possible, otherwise freedom and accountability would not make sense. Then it is fitting that in the beginning God endowed accountable humans with complete freedom to accept God’s Love: this is the stage of original Grace, where the only possible sin was pride.

I apologize for insisting: from God’s perspective original Grace derives from “the Incarnation of Jesus” since in any possible history God’s Son becomes flesh as completion of Creation.

I don’t see the reason why your pastor “would pitch a fit”, unless he misunderstands your claims in a different sense.


No. The first sin that a person commits is their “original” sin.

We are born with a human nature through no choice of our own. That nature is powerless to prevent committing a sin.

He is big on original sin that is passed down from Adam. Exactly how that gets passed down is never mentioned. My position is that it is not sin that gets passed down but simply a human nature formed by evolution. What changed was we were given a conscience/mind which makes us aware that we have sinned are in need of a redeemer. You know the rest of the story.

(Antoine Suarez) #356

This implies: We are born with a human nature through God’s choice.

In this point I fully agree with you.

But then you claim:


All your three claims together imply that:

God is the author of sin.

What is in perfect contradiction with your other following claim:

I fear that your pastor “is big on original sin that is passed down from Adam” because he wants to avoid asserting that “God is the author of sin”. In my view this is a sound motivation.

So I think you have the duty to explain things more coherently, in order to avoid falling into contradictions. Otherwise one ends by reinforcing both YECs and atheists.


I was just talking about our human nature. We are also given a spiritual nature by God. If we allowed that spiritual nature to always remain in control we wouldn’t sin. But we don’t and therefore we sin. So God is not the author of sin. We are. It is our free choice to sin. You could say God gives us a chance to not sin but that no one takes it.

(Antoine Suarez) #358

If God gives us a chance to not sin, then He necessarily gives the first free humans the original Grace to not sin.

If you deny this, whichever way you look at it, you are accepting that God is the author of sin.

And, I am afraid, your pastor has all the reason to “pitch a fit”.:wink:


Grace - the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings

Every time you use grace it seems to jar my understanding. Based on the definition above you are saying that the ability to not sin was a gift from God, correct?

(Antoine Suarez) #360

Thanks Bill for this stimulating question, which helps me to formulate things more accurately:

My position is as follows:

Any time I have to choose either to love God or to sin (reject Him), in God’s mind there is not only the history where I sin, but also the history where I don’t sin. That is, at any possible choice God gives me enough help (Grace) to be able to not sin if I want to love God.

Therefore, at any possible bifurcation into loving or rejecting God, I am not completely determined by my “human nature formed by evolution” to commit sin, but can freely decide in which of the two branches I want to live.

Before continuing I would be thankful to know whether or not you agree with me in this point.