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


(Antoine Suarez) #783

George,

I apologize for the delay.

Regarding Limbo the news you refer to were caused by a study of The International Theological Commission under the title:

The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised

Efectively Pope Benedict XVI, in an audience granted on January 19, 2007, approved the text for publication.

The study is motivated by:

“the theological desire to find a coherent and logical connection between the diverse affirmations of the Catholic faith: the universal salvific will of God; the unicity of the mediation of Christ; the necessity of baptism for salvation; the universal action of grace in relation to the sacraments; the link between original sin and the deprivation of the beatific vision; the creation of man ‘in Christ’."

The conclusion of this study is that:

“there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness, even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in Revelation.”

However, the study stresses:

“none of the considerations proposed in this text to motivate a new approach to the question may be used to negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament. Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable— to baptize them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the Body of Christ.”

In my view there is still a different possibility to keep to all the statements of faith and commitments the study refers to, which is worthy to be discussed:

Embryos and infants who die without being capable of free will and responsible choice can reincarnate and come again to have a life as accountable persons.

Notice that this conclusion is perfectly compatible with Hebrews 9:27.

Thanks in advance for commenting.


(George Brooks) #784

@AntoineSuarez

Since Benedict’s announcement, it would seem you need to acknowledge that Baptism is metaphysically OPTIONAL … though mandatory from the viewpoint of joining a church, or some
other aspect that is not really part of the considerations regarding “image of God” language in Genesis.


(Antoine Suarez) #785

That people dying without Baptism can go to heaven, was acknowledged by Pope Pius IX as early as 1863. Regarding those who live sincerely observing the law and precepts inscribed by God on all hearts this Pope stated:

they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments .

In other words, these people (also without Baptism) receive the grace God ordinarily bestows through Baptism, and therefore it holds for all what St. Paul states: Through Baptism we become part of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-14,27), and thereby “Image of God” (Colossians 1:15).

The “image of God” in Genesis is the announcement that God will take a human body, and thereby the very definition of Humanity, even as a biological species.


(George Brooks) #786

@AntoineSuarez

And it took a century longer to conclude the very same for innocent babies.


(Antoine Suarez) #787

The teaching of Pope Pius IX (1863) was resumed by the Council Vatican II (1965): “Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”

This logic of the teaching of Pius IX and the Council was already extended to infants by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), points 1261, 1283: “With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God’s mercy and to pray for their salvation.”

This teaching was confirmed by the Report of the International Theological Commission approved by Pope Benedict XVI, as you referred to.

In this respect it is important to notice that according to both, the Catechism and the Report, the reason for the hope that God will find a way to offer the grace of Christ to infants who die without Baptism is that they “have no opportunity for making a personal choice with regard to their salvation." [see here].

Accordingly, I think nothing speaks against assuming that God can provide these infants opportunity “for making a personal choice with regard to their salvation“ by bringing them again to earthly life as new embryos.

I dare to repeat that this conclusion is perfectly compatible with Hebrews 9:27.


(George Brooks) #788

@AntoineSuarez

Or at the White Throne Judgment, yes?

Essentially, all your focus and fuss about Original Sin no longer seems to be have any metaphysical grounding.

Maybe you could present a revised scenario that doesn’t rely so much on the idea of Original Sin … and spends more time on humans being “born to be sinners”, rather than born “with sin”.


(Antoine Suarez) #789

Let us see how a “revised scenario” would look like:

First of all, I do NOT claim that humans are born “with sin”.

What I claim is that “humans are conceived lacking original Grace”. This “lack of original Grace” could also be called “state of original sin”, provided this “state” is NOT interpreted as the consequence of a transgression I personally do and am guilty for, but as a "strong propensity to sin”.

On the other hand, your proposal “born to be sinners” cannot mean “born to transgress God’s law”, since this would mean that God creates us so that we necessarily sin, and this would amount to state that God is the author of the sin.

So your proposal means nothing other than that this:

“We are born with a strong propensity to sin”.

and this is the very same I state.


(Shawn T Murphy) #790

Dear George, I would like to offer an engineer’s view of your question to @AntoineSuarez. Having observed the wide diversity of behavior in humanity, the only logical explanation for me comes out of Buddhism and out the of old wisdom of the ‘old soul’ concept. The Sin that Jesus came to forgive and the one that every soul carries, comes from the Fall.

God created our immortal soul perfect, and then we used free will to Fall, now we are born into the material world to relearn our lost virtues. This restoration process moves at the speed of evolution, very slowly. This theory has to modify @AntoineSuarez’s statement slightly.

“We are born with varying propensity to sin”. (An ‘old soul’ has less propensity than a ‘young soul’.)

Best Wishes, Shawn


(George Brooks) #791

@AntoineSuarez,

You will ever be a Latin in your thinking? Greek Church Father Irenaeus, who wrote before Augustine, believed that God did create us with the “necessity to sin” as a “teaching”, as an “innoculation”, as a “catfish” element (a term becoming popular in modern jargon) to ultimately make humans that are more Upright, More knowledgeable of the difference between Good and Evil, and better prepared for Ultimate Redemption.

But I guess you might as still stick to your course … since your audience is going to be Latin-Western-Derived Creationists.

I don’t think we can ever really change the scar tissue Augustine has foisted upon the West.


(George Brooks) #792

@shawn_Murphy

Naturally, this means God crafts each of our souls WITH SIN “baked in”! Right?


(Albert Leo) #793

Antoine, I sense that you and @gbrooks have the identical viewpoints as to how humankind and sin came into existence in this World of ours; BUT certain words used to convey each view gets in the way of seeing this close agreement. Relying on the current scientific knowledge of evolution should serve to bridge this ‘language disparity’–at least it has for me.

For instance, Antoine refers to transgression of God’s Law. This is a holdover from the time all Christians believed that God created Adam & Eve instantaneously, and then, logically, He provided a ‘user’s guide’ as to how this finished product should be operated. This was God’s Law.

But if scientific evidence leads us to believe that God chose evolution to modify and enhance life forms on earth, and evolution involves some measure of selfishness (‘survival of the fittest’, ‘dog eat dog’), which was NOT His final goal for Humankind, then perhaps He bestowed us with the Mind and the Freedom of choice to rise above this inherent selfishness. But God did not decree a Law that humans MUST be loving and selfless. We have the ability to KNOW what God wants, but, nevertheless, to disregard that knowledge (which is Sin). It seems sensible, therefore, to refer to the selfishness of evolution as "humans are conceived lacking original Grace" and “born with a strong propensity to sin”

In referring to what ‘transgresses God’s Law’, we may be assuming we know more about God’s attributes than we understand from revealed Scripture.
Al Leo


(Shawn T Murphy) #794

No George, that is not what I wrote. Please reread my comment. You have to understand that this assumes the pre-existence of the soul.
Best Wishes, Shawn


(Antoine Suarez) #795

George,

I am fan of Irenaeus too!

Here some quotes from The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching:

“Moreover he [man] was free and self-controlled, being made by God for this end, that he might rule all those things that were upon the earth.”

“But, lest man should conceive thoughts too high, and be exalted and uplifted, as though he had no lord, because of the authority and freedom granted to him , and so should transgress against his maker God, overpassing his measure, and entertain selfish imaginings of pride in opposition to God; a law was given to him by God, in order that he might perceive that he had as lord the Lord of all. And He set him certain limitations, so that, if he should keep the commandment of God, he should ever remain such as he was, that is to say, immortal ; but, if he should not keep it, he should become mortal and be dissolved to earth from whence his formation had been taken.”

“This commandment the man kept not, but was disobedient to God, being led astray by the angel who, for the great gifts of God which He had given to man, was envious and jealous of him, and both brought himself to nought and made man sinful, persuading him to disobey the commandment of God.

“Now God cursed the serpent which carried and conveyed the Slanderer; and this malediction came on the beast himself and on the angel hidden and concealed in him, even on Satan; and man He put away from His presence, removing him and making him to dwell on the way to Paradise at that time; because Paradise received not the sinful.

“And just as through a disobedient virgin man was stricken down and fell into death, so through the Virgin who was obedient to the Word of God man was reanimated and received life. For the Lord came to seek again the sheep that was lost and man it was that was lost: and for this cause there was not made some other formation, but in that same which had its descent from Adam He preserved the likeness of the (first) formation. For it was necessary that Adam should be summed up in Christ, that mortality might be swallowed up and overwhelmed by immortality; and Eve summed up in Mary, that a virgin should be a virgin’s intercessor, and by a virgin’s obedience undo and put away the disobedience of a virgin.”

“Thus then He gloriously achieved our redemption , and fulfilled the promise of the fathers, and abolished the old disobedience . … The Word of God was made flesh by the dispensation of the Virgin, to abolish death and make man live. For we were imprisoned by sin, being born in sinfulness and living under death.

“Now, if He was not born, neither did He die; and, if He died not, neither did He rise from the dead; and, if He rose not from the dead, neither did He vanquish death and bring its reign to nought; and if death be not vanquished, how can we ascend to life, who from the beginning have fallen under death? So then those who take away redemption from man, and believe not God that He will raise them from the dead, these also despise the birth of our Lord”.

“First of all it bids us bear in mind that we have received baptism for the remission of sins, in the name of God the Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate and died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit of God. And that this baptism is the seal of eternal life, and is the new birth unto God, that we should no longer be the sons of mortal men, but of the eternal and perpetual God;

According to these quotes Irenaeus view can be summarized as follows:

  1. God created man in a state of righteousness and grace , with great authority, self-control, and freedom, and without being submitted to decay and death. Irenaeus does not support at all that “God did create us with the ‘necessity to sin’.”

  2. Tempted by the devil, Adam and Eve entertained selfish thoughts of pride and disobeyed God.

  3. As a consequence Adam and Eve were stricken down, fell into death, and since we humans come into existence lacking original grace: “we were imprisoned by sin, being born in sinfulness and living under death.

  4. Redemption came through the obedience of Mary, Incarnation of the God’s Word, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

  5. Baptism liberates us from the [state of] “imprisonment by sin” we “are born in”.

I fully agree to Irenaeus view!


(George Brooks) #796

@AntoineSuarez

My dear sir, you have excellent debating skills!

As someone who is actually familiar with the Eastern Orthodox interpretations of Irenaeus, I have to laugh a little.

The one thing I am not inclined to do is believe what a Catholic says about Irenaeus says about Sin!

I’m not suggesting that you are intentionally corrupting his writings. But I think it is almost impossible for a Christian brought up in Western traditions of Christianity to appreciate Irenaeus.

Some of what you say may be perfectly on point, but your last sentence just sounds “off”:
"Baptism liberates us from the [state of] “imprisonment by sin” we “are born in”.

Is this really Irenaeaus’ view? Is it really his view about adult baptism? I am pretty skeptical that he would ever say this about Infant Baptism.


(Albert Leo) #797

After reading the most recent posts by @AntoineSuarez and yourself, @gbrooks, I now realize that my knowledge of the history of the early Church Fathers (e.g. Iranaeus) is far too slim to have made the statement (made in my last post) that apparently the difference in your two viewpoints is mostly a matter of semantics. Being raised as Roman Catholic, I had little contact with Iranaeus’ writings. and found them a ‘mixed bag.’ The quotation Antoine offered was completely new to me, but it reinforced my preconceived notion: “Not too bad for a theologian/philosopher in a pre-scientific world”. But I still need more enlightenment. For example, can you enlarge on what you refer to in:

And I am also uncomfortable with Antoine’s statement:

I would rather state it: “Baptism signifies that we are capable of liberation from the state of imprisonment by the propensity to sin the we are born into”

I rather think that if Irenaeus were reincarnated and educated in 21st century science, he would be careful to distinguish between a human’s biological life and his/her spiritual life when stating:

Unless evolution is a totally false theory, Irenaeus would conclude that all biological life is subject to death. However, some biological life (notably some birds, dogs, and elephants) show elements of love, self-denial, & empathy that prompt us to suppose they do have some spiritual attributes as well. In the case of Homo sapiens, at some point in time the mind had reached the level of ‘moral awareness’, and by choosing un-selfishness because it pleases one’s Creator could result in a Spirit that is henceforth immortal.

IF Irenaeus had had the advantage (?) of a modern education, might he not chosen the simpler explanation,( i.e. “Occam’s razor”) rather than:

To some who read the arguments I present above, it might appear that I agree with Sam Harris–that we can depend solely on science to provide a moral guide for living a productive life. Not so! I certainly agree that, properly interpreted, Scriptural revelation can inform us in ways that science cannot. But as the discussions on this Forum affirm, there are many different ways that Scripture can be interpreted, and if humans are ever going to maximize ecumenism, science may be needed to provide the uniting force. (So, Al, dream on!)
Al Leo


(Antoine Suarez) #798

Here Irenaeus’s quotations:

“The Word of God was made flesh by the dispensation of the Virgin, to abolish death and make man live. For we were imprisoned by sin, being born in sinfulness and living under death.”

“we have received baptism for the remission of sins, in the name of God the Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate and died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit of God. And that this baptism is the seal of eternal life, and is the new birth unto God, that we should no longer be the sons of mortal men, but of the eternal and perpetual God;”

From these premises it follows that:

We are born in a state of sinfulness, imprisoned by sin. Baptism means remission of sinfulness and new birth unto God to the state of sons of God.

In the light of Evolution we can interpret Irenaeus as follows:

  1. “born in sinfulness” (Irenaeus) means today:
    We are conceived with the selfish evolutionary propensities and lacking original grace to overcome them, and so with strong propensity to sin (but not with “the necessity to sin”).

  2. “new birth unto God to the state of sons of God” (Irenaeus) means:
    Baptism gives us grace to overcome the strong propensity to sin and initiates the transformation of our flesh into the flesh of the Word of God.


(Albert Leo) #799

Wouldn’t it be great if you could run this by Irenaeus to see if he would agree? I’ll bet he would. Perhaps his spirit had a way of helping you phrase it in modern terms.
Al Leo


(George Brooks) #801

@AntoineSuarez

And you write that from these premises, it follows that:
We are born in a state of sinfulness, imprisoned by sin. Baptism means remission of sinfulness and new birth unto God to the state of sons of God.

Firstly, his comments are intended to refer to ADULT BAPTISM.
Secondly, the word translated as “remission” has also been translated for the same text
as “forgivenness” of sins, which seems to improve clarity: the sins already made,
have been forgiven. It doesn’t mean that no more sins will be made, right?
Thirdly, “being born in sinfulness” seems to be a clear reference to the sinful nature of human civilization. I don’t see how it means Original Sin, any more than being born with the tendency to sin means Original Sin. Which is actually how you explain it in your subsequent point (1)!

  1. “born in sinfulness” (Irenaeus) means today:
    We are conceived with the selfish evolutionary propensities and lacking original grace to overcome them, and so with strong propensity to sin (but not with “the necessity to sin”).

(Antoine Suarez) #802

\ 45x45 Randy
March 1

This is very interesting, Dr Suarez. Thank you for your thoughts. It makes a different characterization of sin from what I grew up with (a rather hellfire and brimstone evangelical one):

  1. God hates every sin–even the smallest intentional thought–and even one is enough to separate us eternally from Him, to everlasting fire.
  2. It’s because of this sin and our plight of getting our just desserts that God sent his Son to the world to suffer the worst death imaginable, to take our punishment on Himself, so that we can go to Heaven and not be punished for eternity.
  3. We are born “dirty, rotten sinners” and it’s only God’s gift that improves on that.

I have trouble with equating this view of sin with being born into such a state. If God chose to transmit an inability to be perfect (thus, an inability to avoid Hell for eternity) to us, then is He not also the author of suffering and sin?

I don’t think this way any longer; believing that God is more like a father who guides us from incompleteness to perfection with love. Also, his punishment is corrective, not punitive.

So, the definition of sin in the above-is it so reprehensible; or is it more as I’ve heard Irenaeus having been said to describe it–part of the growing pains of any child, and to be viewed by God only as those parts of growth?

I welcome your thoughts on this. Thank you.


Thanks for your interest. I meet with pleasure your request.

Here some quotations from Irenaeus in The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching relevant to the question you address:

11.[…] for (as) the image of God was man formed and set on the earth. […] Moreover he was free and self-controlled , being made by God for this end, that he might rule all those things that were upon the earth. […]

22.[…] For He made man the image of God; and the image of God is the Son, after whose image man was made: and for this cause He appeared in the end of the times that He might show the image (to be) like unto Himself.

32.God took dust of the earth and formed the man, the beginning of mankind. So then the Lord, summing up afresh this man, took the same dispensation of entry into flesh, being born from the Virgin by the Will and the Wisdom of God ;

11.He prepared him a place better than this world, excelling in air, beauty, light, food, plants, fruit, water, and all other necessaries of life, and its name is Paradise . And so fair and good was this Paradise, that the Word of God continually resorted thither, and walked and talked with the man, figuring beforehand the things that should be in the future, (namely) that He should dwell with him and talk with him, and should be with men, teaching them righteousness. But man was a child, not yet having his understanding perfected; wherefore also he was easily led astray by the deceiver.

14.And Adam and Eve—for that is the name of the woman—were naked, and were not ashamed; for there was in them an innocent and childlike mind, and it was not possible for them to conceive and understand anything of that which by wickedness through lusts and shameful desires is born in the soul. For they were at that time entire, preserving their own nature; since they had the breath of life which was breathed on their creation: and, while this breath remains in its place and power, it has no comprehension and understanding of things that are base. And therefore they were not ashamed, kissing and embracing each other in purity after the manner of children.

15.And He set him certain limitations, so that, if he should keep the commandment of God, he should ever remain such as he was, that is to say, immortal ; but, if he should not keep it, he should become mortal and be dissolved to earth from whence his formation had been taken.

16.This commandment the man kept not, but was disobedient to God, being led astray by the “angel” who, for the great gifts of God which He had given to man, was envious and jealous of him,
and both brought himself to nought and made man sinful, persuading him to disobey the commandment of God. So the angel, becoming by his falsehood the author and originator of sin, himself was struck down, having offended against God , and man he caused to be cast out from Paradise.

16.And, because through the guidance of his disposition he apostatized and departed from God, he was called Satan, according to the Hebrew word; that is, Apostate: a but he is also called Slanderer.

17.And when they were put out of Paradise, Adam and his wife. Eve fell into many troubles of anxious grief, going about with sorrow and toil and lamentation in this world. For under the beams of this sun man tilled the earth, and it put forth thorns and thistles, the punishment of sin.

3.“[…] we have received baptism for the remission of sins, […] And that this baptism is the seal of eternal life, and is the new birth unto God, that we should no longer be the sons of mortal men, but of the eternal and perpetual God”.

In my view the message Irenaeus convey here for us today is the following:

Man was created in the Image of God, with great gifts and free from the wickedness derived from lusts and shameful desires (i.e.: from any propensity to sin derived from selfish evolutionary tendencies). In this state of original grace (Paradise) man was immortal. (Notice that Irenaeus does not say ``animals were immortal”).

The “angel” (Satan) was jealous of man because God decided to become human flesh in order man can become like God. And from the context it follows that Satan was especially jealous and envious of the virgin from which God decided to be born, since this woman was supposed to be the highest creature, higher as the highest “angel” (see Revelation 12). The very thrust of Irenaeus theology is that Incarnation is the aim of Creation (of Evolution can we today add): Even if man had not sinned God would have incarnated.

Tempted by Satan (the author and originator of sin) man was disobedient to God.

Contrarily to Satan, man was not struck down but cast out from Paradise. In this state humans are born in a state of sinfulness, imprisoned by sin. This is reminiscent of Romans 11:32: For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone. The state of sinfulness we are born in is something happy after all because it is a state of “need of Redemption”: Although caused by the first sin in history, it is mainly a “happy” invention of God’s redemptive will .

Actually it is not fitting to refer to this state after the Fall as “sin”. After the Fall (the first sin in human history) humans are not born with sin but with strong propensity to sin i. e.: wickedness through lusts and shameful desires due to the lack of Original Grace.

Baptism, “new birth unto God” to “eternal life” transforms the “punishment of sin” (anxious grief, sorrow, toil and lamentation in this world) and even the propensity to sin into “growing pains of any child“, pains accompanying the transformation of our flesh into Christ’s flesh, to be “sons of the eternal and perpetual God”.


(Randy) #803

Thanks, Dr Suarez, for your thorough looking note. I will try to read this more–I’m buried in paper work right now, but will try to get back to you. Thank you for your time and attention.