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Lesson 4: Creation of the Human Person and Original Sin

Posted on 04/19/2006 9:05:56 AM PDT by MILESJESU

Fundamentals of Catholicism by Father Robert Altier

Lesson 4: Creation of the Human Person and Original Sin

Let us talk about the soul. The soul is defined as the principle of life in a living being. Are there any other beings with souls? The answer is “yes.” Anything that is alive has a soul. There are three different kinds of souls. There are vegetative souls – that is what a plant has; a plant is alive. There are sensitive souls – that is what animals have. Then there are rational souls – that is what human beings have. You could call that a “personal soul,” if you want. A vegetative soul has life, but it does not have senses. A sensitive soul is exactly what it says: animals have senses. They can touch and taste and hear and so on just as we do, but they do not have a mind and a free will.

What is it then that sets our souls apart? In other words, what makes our souls immortal? What makes our souls immortal is the mind and the intellect, the mind and the will. Once the data is present, thinking and willing can continue without the body. We get everything in through the senses.

Everything that we have comes through the senses, through what we have felt, touched, heard, etc. But once we have the data there, we can think without having anything go through the senses. We can put together divergent concepts that we have never experienced before. That is how we know that thinking and willing can continue without the body.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: fraltier; originalsin; talks
Fundamentals of Catholicism by Father Robert Altier

Lesson 4: Creation of the Human Person and Original Sin

Let us talk about the soul. The soul is defined as the principle of life in a living being. Are there any other beings with souls? The answer is “yes.” Anything that is alive has a soul. There are three different kinds of souls. There are vegetative souls – that is what a plant has; a plant is alive. There are sensitive souls – that is what animals have. Then there are rational souls – that is what human beings have. You could call that a “personal soul,” if you want. A vegetative soul has life, but it does not have senses. A sensitive soul is exactly what it says: animals have senses. They can touch and taste and hear and so on just as we do, but they do not have a mind and a free will.

What is it then that sets our souls apart? In other words, what makes our souls immortal? What makes our souls immortal is the mind and the intellect, the mind and the will. Once the data is present, thinking and willing can continue without the body. We get everything in through the senses. Everything that we have comes through the senses, through what we have felt, touched, heard, etc. But once we have the data there, we can think without having anything go through the senses. We can put together divergent concepts that we have never experienced before. That is how we know that thinking and willing can continue without the body. For instance, we have all seen pictures of elephants. We all know what elephants look like, and they are all gray. Have you ever seen a blue elephant before? No. But if I asked you to imagine what a blue elephant would look like, you know what blue is and you know what an elephant is, so in your mind you can put those two concepts together and make a picture of a blue elephant. You have never experienced it with your senses, but you can still make the picture. Once the information is there, your mind and your will can continue to work even without the necessity of the senses. That, in a very small nutshell, is how we can demonstrate that the soul is immortal. Actually, the immortality of the soul was proven by the pagan philosopher Aristotle a couple of hundred years before Jesus lived, and that is the essence of it, that thinking and choosing can continue on without the body. What we are able to do is relate things, that is, we are able to look at causes and effects, and that is how we can reason to the fact of the immortality of the soul.

We have to ask: Are we immortal for a natural or a supernatural reason? Is immortality something natural to a human being, or is it supernatural? It is part and parcel of who we are, so it is natural for us. We have to then look at that which is natural as opposed to that which is supernatural, and what those things mean. That which is supernatural is either part of nature, something which proceeds from nature as its effect, or something to which nature has a claim. It is natural for us to do things like eat and sleep and walk and breathe. In theology, the natural is contrasted with the supernatural. The supernatural is something which is neither part of nature (it does not proceed from nature as its effect) nor can it be claimed by nature. The supernatural transcends the being, the powers, and the claims of nature. It is added by God to the natural gifts of the creature, but it is added over the claims and endowments of nature. What is supernatural pertains to God. When we talk about the supernatural operating in us, the easiest way to think of it is as the old saying goes: “Grace builds on nature.” God takes what is already there naturally and He augments it with His grace.

This is important for us because the Church proclaims as a dogma that the end of man, that is, the very purpose of our being, is supernatural. That is different from any other creature except angels. All the other creatures on earth, their end is natural. God creates them for whatever purpose and it is simply part of their nature. This is what they do, this is what they are created for. For us, that is not the case. Another way of asking this would be: Could God have created us and ordained us to a purely natural end? The answer is “yes,” and it would not have been an injustice to us at all. Before I explain this, the thing to understand is that theology begins where philosophy ends. Philosophy deals with the natural things and some of the metaphysical; theology picks up and goes on from there. Philosophers talk about the natural end of man being happiness, but there is no natural end because we are created for a supernatural end. We either attain the supernatural destiny of the Beatific Vision (the Beatific Vision is the face-to-face vision of God, beatific meaning “blessed”) or we are lost forever. There is no merely natural end for the human person; our end is supernatural. But when we talk about all the other creatures, except angels, their end is natural. It is always a disappointment for a lot of people when I point out to them that only human persons have immortal souls and animals do not. Dogs do not. Goldfish do not. Your goldfish will not go to heaven. There is no doggy heaven. When an animal dies, that is the end of their being; they do not exist any longer. Our souls are immortal; therefore, we continue to exist even after the soul is separated from the body. For the animals and all the other creatures, their end is purely natural, and when they die that is it. Our end is supernatural. Supernatural means it is beyond what is natural to us. That means it is not something we can do all by ourselves. We can do on our own whatever is natural for us to do, but this is supernatural; this is beyond our ability. We will talk more about this as we go on.

Is your soul natural or supernatural? Is it just part and parcel of what it means to be a human being? Or is it part of God? Our souls are natural. The Manicheans were a heretical sect, a branch of the Gnostics back in the early centuries who thought the human soul proceeded by emanation from the essence of God. Therefore, they said that the souls were actually part of God. Remember that last week we said God is perfectly simple. If we are all little parts of God, if we each got a little chunk of the soul of God, that contradicts the simplicity of God, but it would also be a problem for us because if the soul is part of God then the soul would have to be unchangeable. More than that, if the soul was supernatural, our personhood would be destroyed at the first moment we sinned, because God cannot do something evil. So our soul has to be natural, because if it was supernatural (meaning it was part of God) then when we sinned we would no longer exist as we would have performed a logical contradiction. We would have our soul which is part of God and is perfectly good, and then we would do something evil, and that cannot be.

Each one of us, then, is created individually because the soul is created and infused into us at the very moment of conception. That is an interesting point because even the doctors today will be able to tell you that. Scientists can talk about that without any problem. There is no doubt in the mind of any scientist that in the little tiny zygote there is life. There are 46 chromosomes, which only human beings have, and there is life separate from the mother, individual and unique from the very first moment of conception. There is not a scientist on the face of this earth who would deny that. Yet we are aborting babies because we want to say they are not human. They have 46 chromosomes just like us; they have life just like us. They are human. They are not fully developed, but you know, neither is any of us. We are still developing. Have you looked at any pictures of yourself from a few years ago? Look in the mirror today. Are you the same? No, you are still developing. If a baby is developing, what is the problem? So are we, right up until the moment we die. To be aborting babies is a heinous thing, because it contradicts what is completely natural to a woman, first of all, but it contradicts what is natural to any of us as human beings. To destroy our own makes no sense.

Since 1980, throughout the world we have now aborted 1 billion babies. Since 1973, in America we have aborted 47 million babies. Ponder that. There are supposed to be a billion more people. And that is just from surgical abortions; that is not the contraceptive abortions. As horrendous as things are in the United States –1.3 million babies a year – in Russia the average woman has had 8 abortions. There was a priest from Russia who was here one day and I asked him about that. (At that point, the average woman had only 7 abortions.) I said, “Is it true that is the case?” He said, “Tragically, it is. You want to hear the worst of it? A woman came into my office who was angry at God because she wanted to get pregnant. She had gotten married and wanted to have a baby. She had had 42 abortions previously, and she was angry at God because she couldn’t get pregnant.” Forty-two abortions, it is unthinkable. In the Low Countries, they are aborting 50% of their babies, and this is considered progress. It is considered now to be an “international right.” The European Union decided, by the way, that a Catholic doctor cannot refuse to do an abortion. You cannot say, “I have a conscientious objection to this,” because they have declared that it is an absolute right for any woman to have an abortion. Therefore, a doctor has an obligation to make sure the abortion is done – even if he has a conscientious objection – because the right of the woman to kill her own baby is more important than the right of a doctor to say, “I won’t do it.” That is what the European Union has decided is law in any European country now. That is how far we have come, or shall I say, that is how far we have gone away from God. When Cain killed Abel, God said, Your brother’s blood cries out from the earth. What about the blood of a billion babies? Do we need to be purified? You bet we do. Why is there so much evil in the world? We are doing it to ourselves. Once again, evil comes from the choices of free creatures, from the misuse of our free will. We have gotten things very badly messed up.

Getting back to what is supernatural, it is important to understand that the supernatural is not some existing being or thing. It does not exist in itself, but it exists in something else. The something else in which it exists is the human soul. The supernatural, therefore, assumes an already existing created nature which receives it and in which it operates. The supernatural is not merely added to human nature, but it affects it intrinsically. It permeates our powers and our being, and it raises us up to the divine order of being and of acting. That is something you need to ponder. It is right out of Scripture where Saint Peter tells us that we become partakers of the divine nature. That is what happens at Baptism. The moment we are baptized, we become members of Christ. We receive grace, original sin is removed, sanctifying grace is infused into our soul, and we are elevated to a divine level of acting and being. That is something purely supernatural. But there is the inversion of what happened to Jesus. Jesus is divine from all eternity, and He became human by taking on our human nature. We are human from the moment of our conception, and at Baptism we take on the divinity. Obviously, it is still entirely different from the Lord. His is substantial and ours is accidental, that union of the humanity and the divinity, but we literally share in the divine nature which is why we can be called children of God (because we share His life and His nature) and therefore we become heirs of heaven. We become members of Jesus Christ. That is the dignity God gives to us. We are to act the way God acts. That is what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God.

Why did God make us immortal? God could have made us like the animals and said, “I’m not going to make you a person; I’m just going to make you a thing.” A very important distinction to keep in mind is that you are not a thing. A human person is a person, not an object. You are not an object, you are not a thing, and you are not to be treated that way. God could have said, “I’m going to make you like the animals,” but He did not; He made us persons. Why did God make us immortal? So we could be with Him forever in heaven. Since He made us that way, we need something beyond us, beyond what is natural for us, so that we can get to heaven – and that is sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace is God’s life. He gives us a share in His life, in His nature, in His being, so that we can be with Him. Think about it for a moment. Dogs do not sit at the table and carry on a conversation with us because they do not share human life; they are not our equals. That is a finite difference between us and dogs. There is an infinite difference between us and God. Therefore, in order to be able to sit at God’s table, we have to become like Him. That is what grace does for us. To allow the dog to sit at our table, the dog would have to become human. For us to sit at God’s table, we have to become divine.

Did Adam and Eve have grace? Did they have that divine life from the very beginning of their creation? Yes, otherwise they would have been frustrated. God would have created them for an end they could not have achieved if they did not have grace, because it is supernatural. It is beyond what we can do all by ourselves. It is beyond what is natural to us. They had to have grace from the beginning. Then they lost that when they sinned, which we will talk about in a little while.

What are angels? Angels are persons. Because they are persons, they have a mind and a free will. Having a mind and a free will also means that angels are immortal. Just like us, they cannot die. Angels are pure spirits; they have no bodies. The word angel comes from the Greek word angelos, which means “messenger.” They are messengers of God to us. Their name actually describes their function; it does not describe their nature. Everything God created, He created for us. Angels are messengers of God to us. What they are all about is bringing God’s message to us.

Do angels need sanctifying grace? Remember that sanctifying grace is what allows us to share in the divine nature and the divine life and allows us to be able to get into heaven. If you do not have sanctifying grace, you cannot go to heaven. If you have sanctifying grace, that is what allows you to go to heaven. You are either in the state of mortal sin or you are in the state of sanctifying grace, one or the other. Do angels need sanctifying grace? The answer is “yes.” The reason is because the Beatific Vision, that face-to-face vision of God, is natural only to God; it is not natural to the angels. It is a supernatural gift for any creature. We and the angels need God’s grace in order to get into heaven. Having sanctifying grace is not the same thing as enjoying the Beatific Vision. I hope that everyone here tonight is in the state of sanctifying grace. That means all of your mortal sins have been confessed and forgiven. If that is the case, then you are in the state of sanctifying grace. If there is a mortal sin on your soul that has not been confessed and forgiven, then you are not in the state of sanctifying grace. But being in the state of sanctifying grace is not the same as being in the Beatific Vision. I can guarantee that no one here right now is seeing God face-to-face; we would die on the spot of pure love and pure joy, so we know that is not the case. But I hope you are in the state of sanctifying grace. If you are not, I hope you get there very soon. So we can have sanctifying grace in this life. What about the angels? The angels were created with grace, but before being admitted into the Beatific Vision, before being able to get into heaven, they were tested in their love for God. Those who passed the test immediately went into the Beatific Vision, and those who failed the test were immediately cast into hell.

Some might think it is unfair that the angels only had one chance, but remember that the angels are pure spirits. Therefore, they choose with their whole being in an irrevocable manner. Once the angel makes a choice, he cannot change his mind. The same thing, by the way, is true for you when your soul leaves your body. As soon as your soul leaves your body, you cannot change your mind anymore. People will say things like, “Oh, as soon as I stand before God on Judgment Day then I’ll repent, then I’ll be sorry.” You bet you will be sorry on that day! But there will not be any repenting because the soul has already left the body. If you are not repentant in this life, you are not going to be in the next. There is no changing of the mind once the soul leaves the body. At that point, it is pure spirit and we become like the angels. We will not become angels. We will be human persons for the rest of eternity. Angels will be angels, and we will be human. Angels choose with their whole being and they cannot change their minds once they make that choice. We struggle with our passions, we struggle with concupiscence, we struggle with ignorance, and we have great difficulty putting our whole being into one act. Therefore, God gives us many opportunities. We fall, we get back up. We fall again, we get back up. We have the opportunity to do that; the angels do not because they know before they make a decision every single thing that will follow from it. Think of people who play chess. They take two days to make a single move. Why? Because they are trying to figure out all the possible things that the other person could do, all the different moves that are possible. They do not know what the other person is going to do. They do not know what the next move is going to be. But the angels knew before they made their choice every single ramification that would follow from that choice. They were not ignorant about this. It is not like they did not know what they were doing. They made a free choice for or against God, and it is interesting what the choice was. Satan’s battle cry was non serviam – “I will not serve!” What are we called to do? To know, to love, and to serve God. Satan said, “I will not serve.” So what do we do when we are selfish? We say, “I will not serve. I’m going to be self-serving; it’s all about me.” That is what the devil did; that is his problem.

Why did God create angels in the first place? To share His love. If you look at material creation, there are degrees of perfection. You start with the inanimate objects (like rocks and so on) and you work your way up to the animate objects (like grass and plants and so on), up to the animals, and then up to us. There is a growth of perfection as you look at the things God has created. If that is the case, there are things that are purely physical, then you get to us and we are both body and soul, matter and spirit. But if we continue along that line there is a huge gap between us and God, so it also makes sense that there would be one more in between. God is pure spirit; He is perfect. We are both spirit and matter. It makes sense that there would be another grouping of persons who are creatures but pure spirits because that would be the next logical step in that growth of perfection. The angels just make sense.

An interesting thing you can stick in the back of your mind to ponder is that each angel is his own species. All of us are one species: homo sapiens. We are all part of that one species. Each angel is its own species. Each one of us has a guardian angel; he is right with you now. He was with you from the moment you were created, the moment you were conceived, and he will be with you at every moment throughout your life. If you go to Purgatory, he will be with you in Purgatory. If you are condemned to hell, he will drop you off at the gate. Otherwise, he is with you until you enter into heaven, and he is specifically created as his own species. In the order of angels there are nine choirs, in the nine choirs there are three categories, and so on, but each angel becomes more perfect. The perfection is based on their knowledge. Each angel organizes more knowledge through fewer concepts. God knows everything with one thought. He knows Himself and He knows everything that exists. Everything that we know is known through thousands upon thousands of concepts. How many concepts does the most intelligent angel have? We have no idea. Maybe 100, maybe 10, maybe 1000, we have no idea. But each angel can grasp more things under fewer concepts. That is the way they move along in perfection. The knowledge then also corresponds with the power they have.

That is why we have to understand that when Satan fell, he did not lose any of his power. He is still the most intelligent creature God made. He was the highest angel God made, and when he fell, he did not lose any of his intelligence. He is an angel; that means you are never going to outsmart him. You cannot take Satan on by yourself. He is an angel; he does not have a body; he does not get tired. So you cannot tire him out because he does not get tired. He does not get sleepy and he does not get weak, not at all. And he is way more intelligent than all of us combined, so we are not going to outsmart him either. But he has no power over Jesus Christ. You know who he hates more than anybody? The Blessed Mother. Call on Our Lady and he is in trouble. He is such a wimp. You go back to Genesis and it is all right there: There will be enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. You will nip at his heel, and she will crush your head. Our Lady is going to crush his vile head, and he knows it. That is why he hates women so much.

God created woman as the highest and most perfect creature in his physical creation. Look at it again. There is an order of growth in perfection in creation. Who is the last being that God created? A woman. Therefore, who is the most perfect being God created? A woman. The devil knows that. Think about it another way: What did God make men from? Dirt. (It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?) And what did He make women from? A living human being. Is one a little higher than the other? We are radically equal, but we have to see the way the devil has twisted everything, trying to make women into objects, trying to present women as “less than,” trying to present women as unequal. So what happens? If we buy the lie that women are unequal, then what do women have to do to become equal? If you are not equal, you have to become a man in order to be equal to men. What a tragic thing. If that is the case, women are going to start acting like men, dressing like men, talking like men, being as irresponsible as men, and so on. What is happening in our world today? In a marriage, a woman’s first job is to domesticate her husband. It sounds pretty crass, but it is a reality. If the woman succeeds in that task, you wind up with two human beings. If the woman fails in that task and becomes like the man, you get two animals. Look at what is going on out in the world. It is like a zoo. Well, it is worse than that – it is like a barnyard. It is awful. But nature abhors a vacuum, so if women are going to become men, what do you think is going to happen to the men? They are going to become women! Look around. It is the most despicable, disgusting, ugly thing we have ever seen! All these masculine women, and all these wimpy, effeminate men, it is sick! And nobody is happy because we do not accept who God created us to be.

We need to be able to say, “God made me (whether male or female) in His own image and likeness, and He created me very good.” Go back to Genesis 1. After five and a half days of creation, God looked at what He had made and saw that it was good. The sixth day is the only day that He stopped halfway through to look at what He made. Every other day, it was only at the end of the day. So He created the animals on the first half of the sixth day, and saw that it was good. Then He created us, and He looked and said, Behold, it is very good. Creation was no longer good – it was now very good – and the only difference was the human person. That is who you are by nature, and that nature cannot change. If your nature has changed, that means you are not human. You have a human nature. If your nature changed because Adam and Eve sinned, that means you are no longer human. Guess what Jesus took to Himself: a human nature. If you are not human, then Jesus could not have died for you because you do not share His nature. And what is human nature? It is very good, and that cannot change. Now that does not mean you can look in the mirror and say boastfully, “I’m really good!” No, we are not talking about arrogance; we are talking about the acceptance of the way God created us to be. It does not matter if we are male or female; we need to accept what God has given us, embrace it, and rejoice in it, and then look at the other and rejoice in what God has created in the other. That is what we have to get to, and get away from all the other nonsense we have fallen into in this society. The only way we are going to get it back is if we recognize the dignity of ourselves and of one another, and treat one another with that dignity. Otherwise, the whole thing will keep going the way it is.

Who is Satan? Satan is an angel. He is a pure spirit. He was created good and he became evil through his own fault. As far as the fallen angels are concerned, their nature is good just like the angels in heaven. They have an angelic nature, and that did not change. What is evil is their will, which they have perverted and turned against God, but their nature remains the way God created it. God cannot create anything evil. The demons have a nature which is good, but their will is evil by their own choice. Think about it. If Satan’s nature is still good, can yours be evil? No. God created you to be very good, and that is the way it still is.

Adam and Eve had immortality to begin with. They had grace, but they also had one other gift which distinguished them from every other person: a body. What is a body? Does the body participate in your likeness to God? We talked about how we are made in the image and likeness of God (that is primarily the mind and the will), but does the body participate in that? Yes, it does. We express our persons in and through actions of the body. Therefore, the body becomes the physical image of God. The glorious thing for us is that only human persons can do this. Angels do not have a body. They cannot express physically what it means to be an image of God; only human persons can. That is what we are called to do. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul makes it very clear when he says, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Spirit, and if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him? What do we do to our bodies? Drugs, drunkenness, tattoos all over the place, piercing, sticking things in the face and all over the body. These are violations against the temple of God. They are mortal sins. Your body is the temple of God. We need to make sure we treat the body properly. The body is the expression of the person.

Does that mean you own your body? No. The body is not a thing; it is not something you own. The body is a gift. If the body is a gift, can you cut off or alter a healthy functioning part of your body? Can you just decide that you do not like the way something is? “My hand works just fine, but I keep stealing things, so I think I’ll cut my hand off.” Can you do that? No. If it is functioning properly and it is healthy, you cannot do that. You have some rights over the body, but you have to care for the body. An attack against the body is an attack against the person and it is an affront to God. If you claim ownership of your body, you make the body into a thing, into a machine. If it is a machine, you can sell it, you can rent it, you can terminate it, you can abuse it; you can do anything you want to it because it is just a thing. If you want to go out in the parking lot after class and kick your car, you can do that. It is yours, you own it. You can beat it, you can kick it, you can do anything you want; it is a thing you own. You cannot do that to your body. If I came up and kicked you as hard as I could in your shin, you would not say, “You dented my exterior.” No, you would say, “You hurt me.” Your body is an integral part of who you are as a human person.

Now let us take it to the next step. To do something to a healthy, functioning part of the body is an affront to God. It basically claims, “God did not create me properly. I know a better way.“ That is exactly what contraception does. It alters a healthy, functioning part of your body. So to allow contraception is ultimately to make the body into a thing. It makes the person into an object to be used, rather than a person to be loved. In order to alter anything on the body, we have to be able to argue from the presence of a disease of some sort. There has to be a legitimate reason. The fact that you can have a baby is not a legitimate reason to alter a healthy, functioning part of the body. It just destroys what God created. It is interesting because the very first commandment to humanity that God gave was Be fertile, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. He did not say, “Two and out.” That is not an option, yet that is what we are doing. What happens to women who go to the hospital to have their second baby? The doctors are all over them: “Can we tie your tubes now?” The doctors are right there putting pressure on women to do this. It is a mortal sin. It is to destroy something that works just the way God created it to work. Again, if you think about it, does God want babies? Well, when a little, tiny girl is in her mother’s womb, she has over 2 million ovocytes. Those will become eggs. By the time she is born, she has 400,000 eggs in her ovaries. Throughout the entire course of her fertility, she will use 400 of them. She has 400,000 and she will only use 400 in her entire course of fertility. Does God want babies? Men do not make just a little bit of sperm, but millions of them constantly for their entire course of life. God is very pro-life, and for us to be messing around and cutting things up is a total violation of what God created. It is a violation of our own selves.

Now we know that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and this means we are created to act as God acts. If we are going to act as God acts, what need to be the dominant factors in our lives? Our minds and our wills. What dominated Adam and Eve in the Garden before they fell? Their minds and their wills. What about us? Can we say that our minds and our wills are in control? Well, did you ever decide to go on a diet? You said, “I’m not going to eat this.” We said “no,” right? So we meant “no.” Therefore, we never broke it, did we? Obviously, the mind and will are not in complete control. Things are turned upside down. The mind and the will need to rule if we are going to be the physical images of God.

So what happened in the Garden? We must hold that Adam and Eve sinned grievously against God. What was the sin of Adam and Eve? It was a sin of pride: “You will be like God.” That is what it was all about. We hear about the fruit, but their minds and wills were in control; they were not hungry. They did not say, “We’re really desirous of that fruit, and that’s what we really want.” It was the knowledge they were looking for – it was pride. “You will be like God.” Look at the lie of the devil. We already heard right on the first page of the Bible, in Genesis 1, that they were made in the image and likeness of God. Now Chapter 3 comes along, “ol’ slick” comes into the Garden, and what does he do? He says, “Hey, eat this and you will be like God.” They already were! Look at his lie. But he has not changed. The lie worked very well the first time, it has worked well for thousands of years since, so what does he say to us? “Make your own choice. You don’t need those ten suggestions that God gave you. Make your own choice. Nine out of ten is pretty good anyway, don’t you think? Forget that sixth one, we don’t need that nonsense!” And what do we do? We do the same thing Adam and Eve did: “I can be God! I don’t need to do what God wants; I can do it myself. I will make the choice! I will make the decision! I will make the rules!” It is not ours to do. God laid it all out for us. We see again that the sin is very appropriately represented as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” It had to appeal to the mind.

Now look at part of the punishment. They wanted to rule the world; now they could not even rule their own bodies. The relationship between men and women got turned upside down. Women, by nature, are relational. It was part of the punishment to the woman that the relationship between men and women got turned upside down: Your desire will be for your husband, and he will lord it over you. That is not what it was created to be. It is one of the tragedies. I tell the kids in class all the time that when I was in high school you never heard about the girls calling the boys for a date. Now you never hear about the boys calling the girls! Your desire will be for him – that is part of the punishment due to original sin – and he will lord it over you. And so what are we doing? Sixty percent of males are addicted to pornography! He will lord it over you – you become a thing, you become an object. God created us to love and to be loved, not to use and to be used. But that is what has happened. We have it all backwards. As Christian people, we have been given the grace to overcome sin and live as redeemed men and women. Do not give into original sin and its punishments and effects.

Live the way that Christ has already obtained for you to live. That is what we have the grace to do, but that is not what we are doing. We are throwing ourselves headlong into original sin. If anybody wants to know whether original sin is real, just go outside and look. It is everywhere. It is so obvious and it is so tragic.

Anyway, not only did they get all messed up in their relationship. (By the way, a very important point in that passage is that only the devil was cursed; Adam and Eve were not cursed. Adam and Eve were punished, but they were not cursed. That is a very important point.) The punishment goes back to the origin of our being. The earth was punished as part of the punishment for men, because that is where they came from: the dirt. For women, they were going to bear children in pain; it is from the point of their origin, so it had to do with life, giving life and sustaining life. Not only did they lose all that, but they lost God’s grace. God’s plan was for them to go to heaven and now they could not because they lost His grace.

We now need quickly to go through a couple of points on original sin. Was original sin a personal sin of Adam? The answer is “yes.” Personal sin means something that you actually personally did. Is it a personal sin of ours? The answer is “no.” But it is transmitted to each one of us as an inheritance. Interestingly, it is passed on by the men, so you can thank your dad for original sin. If you think about it this way, suppose your parents had a million dollars which was going to be your inheritance, and they said, “We love our kids so much. A million isn’t enough. Let’s go to Vegas and see if we can make it two million.” So they go to Vegas and gamble the whole thing away. Not only do they lose their million dollars, but they say, “Let’s do a double or nothing and see if we can get it all back,” and they lose that too. What is your inheritance? A two million dollar debt instead of a million dollar inheritance. Well, Adam and Eve had these gifts that they were supposed to pass on to us, and they squandered them. What we got was their debt, and that has been passed on to us right along the way. As a result of original sin, we come into the world lacking something necessary to obtain God, that is, sanctifying grace. We also lack the gift of integrity. Integrity means that Adam and Eve’s minds and wills were in control of everything; their bodies were not rebellious against them. We have to understand that when we are baptized, original sin is removed, but the effects remain. God forgives, nature does not. Every time we sin, we hurt ourselves, and we have to work through that. It is like going to physical therapy if you hurt yourself physically. We need to go through spiritual therapy, in a sense, to build things back up. Part of the problem with original sin is there is a darkening of the mind and a weakening of the will, so it is hard for us to learn, it is hard for us to make the right choices, and so on.

There are a few heresies regarding original sin. First is the Pelagian heresy. A lot of the heresies are named after the person who perpetrated it, and this one is named after a monk by the name of Pelagius. He was the opponent of Saint Augustine regarding the question of original sin. Pelagius taught three things. First, he said the sin of Adam is transmitted, not through inheritance, but through bad example and imitation. In other words, kids come into the world in great shape, but because of the bad examples of parents, siblings, and so forth, they get into trouble. Secondly, he said death, suffering, and concupiscence are not a punishment for sin, but rather they are the natural condition of man. Thirdly, he said baptism of children is administered, not for the remission of sin, but rather as a sign of acceptance by the Church and to help us on the way to the kingdom of heaven, and so baptism is just a symbolic thing that is there. Obviously, the Church condemned this as a heresy. The Church also rejects two other notions with regard to original sin. The first is that original sin is to be identified with sexual desire. The Gnostics said that. They believed that the body was evil and the spirit was good, and anything that had pleasure involved in it must be something particularly evil. Therefore, they said original sin had something to do with sexuality. The Church has condemned that.

The second heresy condemned by the Church in this regard is the heresy that human nature was corrupted so we cannot think or do anything which is good. That is the position of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Remember that not even the nature of the fallen angels changed. Satan’s nature is still good, but his will is perverted against God. When we fell, our nature did not change. As we saw, if we changed, we would not be human; we would be something else. This point is critically important because it is the hinge point in understanding the differences between Catholics and Protestants. Protestantism made no sense to me at all. Why do they accept some things and do not accept others? It made no sense until I understood that point. Once you understand this point, you understand everything else: Catholics recognize that our human nature is good while Protestants believe that we are corrupted and depraved. The primary difference between Catholics and Protestants is the view of human nature. It goes back to original sin and what happens to our humanity because of it. We believe that we are fallen, weakened, hurt, but we are not changed and corrupted and depraved. We are still good. We are still in the image and likeness of God, and very good by nature.

The Lord be with you. May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.

[End of Lesson 4]

1 posted on 04/19/2006 9:06:02 AM PDT by MILESJESU
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah; sandyeggo; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; NYer; Pyro7480; livius; ...


2 posted on 04/19/2006 9:09:49 AM PDT by MILESJESU (Father Robert Altier is a True Soldier of Jesus Christ. Merciful Jesus Christ, I Trust in you.)
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To: All


3 posted on 04/19/2006 9:21:41 AM PDT by MILESJESU (Father Robert Altier is a True Soldier of Jesus Christ. Merciful Jesus Christ, I Trust in you.)
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animals have senses. They can touch and taste and hear and so on just as we do, but they do not have a mind and a free will.

I can tell you that my pet birds most certainly, emphatically have a mind -- a mischievous one at that -- but have only a limited ability to make ethical choices (such as to not peck another bird because it will cause suffering). I believe this apparent "degree of free choice" is not explained by simple operant conditioning and involves a small amount of real ethical thinking. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

4 posted on 04/19/2006 9:23:31 AM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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To: Salvation; BearWash; NYer; nanetteclaret; All
1) Fundamentals of Catholicism by Father Robert Altier Lesson 1: The Unity of God

2) Fundamentals of Catholicism by Father Robert Altier Lesson 2:The Most Holy Trinity

3) FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLICISM BY FATHER ALTIER Lesson 3: God’s Creation of the World.

5 posted on 04/19/2006 9:29:33 AM PDT by MILESJESU (Father Robert Altier is a True Soldier of Jesus Christ. Merciful Jesus Christ, I Trust in you.)
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To: BearWash

Dear BearWash,

I pray and hope that I have not upset you with this particular thread that I have posted. I respectfully accept your point of view, simply because I have a Pet Dog who is a variant of the Pomeranian Breed.

She is extremely intelligent although, she is quite old now.

You will find the other talks of Father Altier extremely stimulating and interesting-- Spiritually as well as Intellectually Speaking.

In The Risen Lord Jesus Christ,

6 posted on 04/19/2006 9:36:19 AM PDT by MILESJESU (Father Robert Altier is a True Soldier of Jesus Christ. Merciful Jesus Christ, I Trust in you.)
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No, It didn't upset me at all and I know that is not the important point of the homily. P.S. I grew up with a Pomeranian -- loved her and still dream about her!

7 posted on 04/19/2006 9:39:50 AM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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Thought provoking post but I must say when I read there would be no "Rainbow Ridge" where we can be with our pets I couldn't go on. Pets have been the most loyal and faithful partners I've had and I was really looking forward to "Rainbow Ridge" - the lack of such is distressing, disappointing and unlike what I envision God has in store for us.

8 posted on 04/19/2006 11:46:02 AM PDT by mcshot (Many of our enemies are busy - pouring through our gates .)
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To: mcshot

Dear mcshot,

Thank you for your comments on my Thread-- although as you said that you could not go on reading this Talk by Father Robert Altier because of the absence of Pets when we reach our "Eternal Reward".

I respectfully accept what you have said but the presence or absence of Pets is not what is going to save our souls and send us to Heaven. In Heaven, if I ever reach there I would like to face my Maker and my Lord Jesus Christ alone -- despite the fact that I have been surrounded with various kinds of Pets from the age of 5.

I have a Dog who is a variant of the Pomeranian Breed known as "German Spitz" -- you may have heard of it. She is truly very religious-- When my Family prays the Daily Rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, she often stares at an image of the Sacred Heart and is in deep contemplation of him.


9 posted on 04/19/2006 3:25:44 PM PDT by MILESJESU (JESUS CHRIST, I TRUST IN YOU.)
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God has gifted us with Creation. He speaks to us through the gifts He's given us. Most important of Creation are the Sacraments in which His Grace flows to us.

But there are other very interesting creations and creatures that God uses to protect us. Sometimes it's the natural events like that of God intervening for Moses. But I especially like it when God uses animals to encourage us to do His work.

St Don Bosco's dog "Grigio".

Excerpted from "All About the Angels" by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P, published by Tan Books and Publishers, Inc.

Was it an angel or was it a dog? The life of Don Bosco furnishes us with a remarkable and interesting story of what appears to many an angelic intervention in saving the life of this servant of God from the fierce attacks of the Waldensian heretics, who made several attempts to assassinate him.

These heretics were furious at the good done by Don Bosco and sought by violent means to rid themselves of his influence. Some of their adherents were men of the lowest and most vicious type, and these they hired to carry out their nefarious designs.

When returning home one night through a bad and dangerous part of the town, he saw a magnificent dog of huge size following him. At first he was frightened but quickly came to see that the dog was friendly. The animal walked by his side and accompanied him to the door of his house and then went away. This happened five, six or eight times. He called the dog Grigio.

What did it mean? He was soon to learn.

Hastening home by himself, some time after the first appearance of the dog, two shots were fired at him by an assassin from behind a tree. Both shots missed their mark, but his assailant then rushed at and grappled with him. At that moment, Grigio appeared and sank his teeth into the flesh of the would-be murderer, who fled away shrieking with pain.

On a second occasion, two men lay in wait for him and threw a sack over his head. This time it seemed all was over with him, but Grigio unexpectedly came to his rescue and jumped at one of the ruffians, seizing him by the throat. The other fled in terror. Don Bosco had then to liberate the first from the fangs of Grigio, who still held him by the throat.

A third time, no less than twelve hired assassins, armed with clubs, lay in ambush, into which Don Bosco walked unawares. Again, escape seemed impossible, but once more Grigio bounded into the midst of the group, and his fierce look and savage growl proved enough. The men made off as quickly as they could.

Sometimes the dog entered Don Bosco's house, but always with some reason, either to accompany him on a night journey or to prevent his leaving the house. No amount of animal instinct could explain these unexpected appearances of the dog.

On one of these occasions, when Don Bosco tried to go out, the great dog lay across the door and growled in such a menacing way that St. John was forced to remain at home. And it was well that he did so, for shortly afterwards a gentleman arrived to warn him not to leave the house on any consideration, as the heretics lay in wait to kill him.

As long as the persecution lasted, Grigio never failed to be at his post and when the danger passed he was seen no more. Whence he came or whither he went no one knew.

Ten years later, Don Bosco had to go to the farmhouse of some friends and had been advised that the road was dangerous.

"If only I had Grigio," he said. At once the great dog appeared by his side, as if he had heard the words, giving signs of the greatest joy. Both man and dog arrived safely at the farmhouse and went into the dining room, where the family invited Don Bosco to take part in the evening meal.

The dog lay down. No one thought any more of him. When the repast was finished the master of the house proposed to feed the dog. But he was gone! Doors and windows had been closed; how did he go?

In 1883, that was more than thirty years after the dog's first appearance, he appeared once more in a different locality to guide Don Bosco, who had lost his way.

How [are we to] explain those wonderful appearances of the dog, at the most opportune moments and in different localities? Surely we may believe that this was angelic intervention. [Especially is this so because the great dog was never known to eat.]
10 posted on 04/19/2006 7:44:52 PM PDT by SaltyJoe (A mother's sorrowful heart and personal sacrifice redeems her lost child's soul.)
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To: SaltyJoe; All


11 posted on 04/20/2006 8:08:54 AM PDT by MILESJESU (JESUS CHRIST, I TRUST IN YOU.)
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