Getting Original Sin
Greetings everyone!

There something about original sin that I can't understand. How can we have a sin which we didn't we choose to commit?
Original Sin is the lack of God's grace.  God's grace is a gift that we are not entitled to nor do we deserve.  The question isn't why man should be born without Original Sin but rather why should man be born in God's grace?
Think of it like a genetic defect. We didn't do anything to earn it, but it is in our gene line. We suffer the effects of the defect. Jesus is the doctor with the cure.
I think of it as a lack rather than something positive. Adam squandered our inheritance of sanctifying grace that otherwise would have been passed on to each new generation. Just as a father may squander a fortune and leave his children impoverished so also did Adam's Sin leave us impoverished.
(11-24-2011, 09:47 AM)LorenzoMdeVera Wrote: There something about original sin that I can't understand. How can we have a sin which we didn't we choose to commit?

Original sin is not an actual sin.

Actual sin is a sin in act, that is, it is a sin one commits.

Original sin is an effect (as well as the first actual sin) which damaged the children of Adam from whom all men are born. God created all and said it was good. By sinning, Adam was "not good" and the grace of God was removed (or pushed away) from him, causing him to need it to be restored. Since he had fallen, although he repented, this grace must be restored in all people. That is the grace in baptism (and after baptism, in confession).

It is not an actual sin and requires no penance or reparation.

One can view sin as a crime as well as a disease. Original sin is not a crime, but a disease which needs to be healed, but original sin's effects remain that is concupiscence and all earthly ills.
Go to Ed Fesers blog and look at the past 2-3months. He has good postings on it in response to an atheist.
From the old Catholic Encyclopedia:
Quote:But how can original sin be even indirectly voluntary for a child that has never used its personal free will?
The whole Christian religion, says St. Augustine, may be summed up in the intervention of two men, the one to ruin us, the other to save us (Of Sin and Merit I.24). The right solution is to be sought in the free will of Adam in his sin, and this free will was ours: "we were all in Adam", says St. Ambrose, cited by St. Augustine (Opus imperf., IV, civ). St. Basil attributes to us the act of the first man: "Because we did not fast (when Adam ate the forbidden fruit) we have been turned out of the garden of Paradise" (Hom. i de jejun., iv). Earlier still is the testimony of St. Irenæus; "In the person of the first Adam we offend God, disobeying His precept" (Haeres., V, xvi, 3).

St. Thomas thus explains this moral unity of our will with the will of Adam.

    "An individual can be considered either as an individual or as part of a whole, a member of a society . . . . Considered in the second way an act can be his although he has not done it himself, nor has it been done by his free will but by the rest of the society or by its head, the nation being considered as doing what the prince does. For a society is considered as a single man of whom the individuals are the different members (St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 12). Thus t[b]he multitude of men who receive their human nature from Adam is to be considered as a single community or rather as a single body . . . . If the man, whose privation of original justice is due to Adam, is considered as a private person, this privation is not his 'fault', for a fault is essentially voluntary. If, however, we consider him as a member of the family of Adam, as if all men were only one man, then his privation partakes of the nature of sin on account of its voluntary origin, which is the actual sin of Adam"
(De Malo, iv, 1).
It is this law of solidarity, admitted by common sentiment, which attributes to children a part of the shame resulting from the father's crime. It is not a personal crime, objected the Pelagians. "No", answered St. Augustine, " but it is paternal crime" (Op. imperf., I, cxlviii). Being a distinct person I am not strictly responsible for the crime of another; the act is not mine. Yet, as a member of the human family, I am supposed to have acted with its head who represented it with regard to the conservation or the loss of grace. I am, therefore, responsible for my privation of grace, taking responsibility in the largest sense of the word. This, however, is enough to make the state of privation of grace in a certain degree voluntary, and, therefore, "without absurdity it may be said to be voluntary" (St. Augustine, "Retract.", I, xiii).

Thus the principal difficulties of non-believers against the transmission of sin are answered.

"Free will is essentially incommunicable." Physically, yes; morally, no; the will of the father being considered as that of his children.

"It is unjust to make us responsible for an act committed before our birth." Strictly responsible, yes; responsible in a wide sense of the word, no; the crime of a father brands his yet unborn children with shame, and entails upon them a share of his own responsibility.

"Your dogma makes us strictly responsible for the fault of Adam." That is a misconception of our doctrine. Our dogma does not attribute to the children of Adam any properly so-called responsibility for the act of their father, nor do we say that original sin is voluntary in the strict sense of the word. It is true that, considered as "a moral deformity", "a separation from God", as "the death of the soul", original sin is a real sin which deprives the soul of sanctifying grace.
Here is an excerpt from Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's Thomistic Synthesis, Reality, to which he devotes a small portion explaining the mechanism by which Original Sin is transmitted.

Reality, Chapter 31 Wrote:Original sin, therefore, is a sin of nature, which is voluntary, not by our will, but only by the will of Adam. Hence original sin consists formally in the privation of original justice, of which the primordial element is grace, which is restored by baptism. Listen to St. Thomas: "The disorder found in this or that man descended from Adam is voluntary, not by his will, but by the will of our first parent." [701].

To say it in a word, the human nature transmitted to us is a nature deprived of those gifts, supernatural and preternatural, which, without being gifts of nature, still enriched our nature as if they were gifts of nature. [702].

Much light is thrown on the transmission of this sin of nature by the doctrine of the soul as form of the body. The soul, being the substantial and specific form of the body, constitutes with the body one and only one natural unity; [703] hence although the soul, being an immaterial thing, does not arise from matter but must be created by God from nothing, still that soul enters into a natural union with a body which is formed by generation. If human nature is thus transmitted, then, after Adam's sin, it is transmitted as deprived of original justice. Were the soul, like a motor, only accidentally united to the body, we would have no way of explaining the transmission of original sin. Let St. Thomas speak: "Human nature is transmitted from parent to child by transmission of a body into which then the soul is infused. The soul of the child incurs the original stain, because that soul constitutes with the transmitted body one nature. If the soul were not thus united to form one nature, but were only united as an angel is united to an assumed body, then the soul would not incur this original stain." [704].

This same doctrine, the soul as form of the body, explains also, as we saw above, the immutability of the soul, immediately after death, in regard to its last end. The purpose of the body is to aid the soul to reach that last end. Hence, when the soul is no longer united to the body, it is no longer on the road to its last end, but is settled in its relation to that end by the last act, meritorious or demeritorious, which it placed during its state of union with the body. [705].

Thus all questions concerning man from beginning to end, from conception unto death and thereafter, are explained by one and the same set of principles. This is a great step in attaining unity of theological science.

We have now seen, from the viewpoint of principle, the most important questions regarding God, and the angels, and man, before his fall and after. Let us summarize and conclude. God alone is pure act, in whom alone is essence identified with existence, who alone is not only His own existence, but also His own action. Every creature is composed of essence and existence, it has its existence, but it is not its existence. [706] Here appears the gulf between the verb "to be" and the verb "to have." Since activity follows being, every creature is dependent on God for its activity, just as it is dependent on Him even for its being.

Such is the word of wisdom, which decides all questions in the light of the supreme cause, God, the source and goal of all creation.

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