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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Religion: In the days of yore....momma and daddy

Last night, I attended a lecture concerning the catholic doctrine of original sin and original justification. It was an interesting talk and although some of it was a review for me, some of it was new and enlightening as well. Original sin and original justification were defined, as is to be expected in catechetical instruction, and a brief question and answer period followed.

I must admit, the topic of Adam and Eve has always been one that has led me down many twisted and dark avenues mainly due to the fact that it is difficult to reconcile the historical interpretation with the allegorical interpretation of the Genesis story. I am one who leans towards the more allegorical interpretation yet I still struggle further with some of the doctrinal issues that arise from even the more forgiving allegorical stance (I enjoy conveniently sidestepping those arguments that begin, "So where exactly was the garden of Eden? Near the Tigris and Euphrates? No, its in....blah blah blah.")

As it was explained last night, Adam and Eve had certain supernatural and preternatural gifts that due to their digression into sin we consequently lost access to. That's fine, I guess. But, I've always been curious about how exactly Adam and Eve fell into sin given the fact that they one: had these supernatural gifts that prevented many of the moral struggles and temptations that we enjoy today and, two: seemed, at least as I read it, not to fall into sin with full awareness thus not fulfilling the requirements of a sin to be mortal (as defined by Catholic dogma). In other words, how did Adam and Eve sin considering that they did not seem to have the full faculties necessary to sin?

Further, I've always wondered how God could punish people for exercising the very faculties He instilled within them. Considering that God is omniscient, then he knew from the beginning the course that Man would take. It seems to me irreconcilible that He could or would even want to punish those who despite their best efforts fall short of perfection due to the fact that they were ill-equipped, morally speaking, to begin with. So many questions...

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