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Dearest Father,

I have my doubts about original sin.

Nowadays given the scientific discoveries of how monogenism and the prelapsarian condition are justified.

Doesn’t reading things this way lead to seeing the incarnation as a patch and redemption in an amartiocentric key?

As if sin was heavier than the gift of grace.

How can sin spread through generations?

I look forward to your answer.

Thank you


Priest’s reply

Dear Francis,

1. in the Catechism of the Catholic Church there is the exact doctrine on original sin and the purpose of the Incarnation of Christ.

2. But even before the Catechism of the Catholic Church one cannot forget what Divine Revelation says, which is the very foundation and content of the Church’s teaching.

I will mention only two texts that are fundamental, from which you cannot prescind.

The first is that of Mt 1:21 where the angel tells Joseph the reasons for the Incarnation: “He will save his people from their sins”.

If you want to abstract from this text, you will make many beautiful speeches, but not sufficiently based on Scripture, which is the basis of argument.

The second is taken from two statements found in the first letter of Saint John: “He is the victim of atonement for our sins; not only for our own, but also for those of the whole world” (1 Jn 2:2).

And: “In this lies love: it was not we who loved God, but he who loved us and sent his Son as a victim of atonement for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10).

3. Having said this, we can ask ourselves whether the Incarnation is a patch.

Nowhere in Scripture is the supernatural event of the Incarnation presented with such a crude term – pardon the expression – anywhere.

It seems outrageous just to think of such a thing: God patching up!

The pagan gods, the object of Greek Roman mythology and the fruit of human imagination, did things like this

4. While the doctrine of the Church, founded on Divine Revelation, deepened by the sensus fidei and theological penetration of the Holy Fathers and great Doctors, says so in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“But why didn’t God stop the first man from sinning?

Saint Leo the Great answers: “The ineffable grace of Christ has given us better goods than those whose envy the devil had deprived us of” (Sermones, 73, 4).

And Saint Thomas Aquinas: “Nothing opposes the fact that human nature was destined for a higher purpose after sin.

God allows, in fact, that there may be evils to draw from them a greater good.

Hence the saying of Saint Paul: “Where sin abounded, grace abounded” (Rom 5:20).

And the song of the Exultet: “O happy guilt, who has deserved such a great Redeemer!”. (Theological sum III,1,3,ad 3)”. (CCC 412).

5. At the center of Revelation there is not sin, but God, there is Jesus Christ crucified and risen. There is His mercy and grace.

But all this would be incomprehensible to us outside the experience of sin.

You say that the Redemption must not be seen in a loving-centric key (for our visitors: that is, like that reality that puts sin at the center; in Greek sin is said to be loving).

But if the Redemption is redemption, it is redemption from what?

It is ransom from the sin that puts us under the influence of the devil.

It is clear that it is not only ransom from sin and the devil.

It is above all ransom for an even higher goal than that of creation itself.

And that’s what redemption is not a ransom.

But it is certain that the reality of sin is ineliminable by the very concept of Redemption.

6. Finally it is interesting to read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the way in which original sin propagates:

“The transmission of original sin is a mystery we cannot fully understand.

But we know from Revelation that Adam received original holiness and justice not only for himself, but for all human nature: by giving in to the tempter, Adam and Eve commit a personal sin, but this sin affects human nature, which they transmit in a fallen condition.

It is a sin that will be transmitted by propagation to the whole humanity, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice.

That is why original sin is called “sin” in an analogical way: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed”, a state and not an act” (CCC 404).

7. I emphasize the CCC’s expression “mystery that we cannot fully understand”.

It is very important to keep in mind. We are in the realm of faith which has as its object “non-evident realities” (Heb 11:1).

We have the certainty of these truths because it is God Himself who reveals them and because “he who believes, has the witness of God within himself” (Heb 11:1).

We have the certainty of these truths because it is God himself who reveals them and because “he who believes has the witness of God within himself” (1 Jn 5:10).

But there remains always the grey area for which man, even once all contradictions within what he believes have been eliminated, must hold hands with God’s hand.

In wishing you from above the best dispositions to let God lead you, I remember you in prayer and I bless you.

Father Angel