Creation and the Fall
“And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light” Gen 1:3
God is the creator of heaven and earth. He created all things out of nothing. He used no preexisting materials. He created all that is seen and unseen. Creation is the work of the Holy Trinity. The world was made for the glory of God. The beauty and the intricacy of creation give testimony to the fact that God created it. We can tell by natural reason that God exists. “God created man in his own image. Male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)
The Church teaches us, as an article of faith, that our first parents disobeyed God and committed what is known as the original sin. The first two human beings were Adam and Eve. Genesis tells us that our first parents were created in the friendship of God. They were tempted by Satan (the Serpent), disobeyed God, and committed sin. They wanted to be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil. In other words, they wanted to make up their own mind, apart from God’s revelation, what was good and what was evil. Original sin is an article of the faith. Its transmission from our original parents is through the flesh. Although baptism cleanses us from original sin, our inclination to disobey God’s command remains a constant struggle. This inclination is known as concupiscence. Our free will is a gift from God and it is never taken away.
There has been much controversy in recent history over the existence of our first two parents. Many people claim that the human race evolved in a random fashion and entire races of human beings gradually came into existence. The Church does not forbid the belief that God created the body of man from matter that he had previously created. The process of creation is not as important as the result. Church teaching affirms that at some point in time, a single pair of individuals (Adam and Eve) did come into existence and that all generations derive their physical existence from them. Through DNA, science has affirmed that the entire human race is the product of a single mother.
· The human race stems from two unique parents
· We are able to know the truth and we are able to know God
· We can love people, ourselves, and God
· Each of us is a unique individual person with dignity
· We each have free will to do good or to do evil
· God created everything out of nothing through the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ
· Because of the sin of our first parents, we all have original sin
Except from: HUMANI GENERIS Pope Pius XII
36. ….the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith. Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.
37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.
38. Just as in the biological and anthropological sciences, so also in the historical sciences there are those who boldly transgress the limits and safeguards established by the Church. In a particular way must be deplored a certain too free interpretation of the historical books of the Old Testament. …..This letter, in fact, clearly points out that the first eleven chapters of Genesis, although properly speaking not conforming to the historical method used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to history in a true sense, which however must be further studied and determined by exegetes; the same chapters, (the Letter points out), in simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people. If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents.
39. Therefore, whatever of the popular narrations have been inserted into the Sacred Scriptures must in no way be considered on a par with myths or other such things, which are more the product of an extravagant imagination than of that striving for truth and simplicity which in the Sacred Books, also of the Old Testament, is so apparent that our ancient sacred writers must be admitted to be clearly superior to the ancient profane writers.
Creation and the Fall
“And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light” Gen 1:3
Father in heaven, guide us in all truth and love. Prepare us for eternal life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to appreciate the majesty of Your creation and to resist the temptation to offend You through sin. Amen
God created everything out of nothing. The universe is sustained by God and is not a product of blind chance. He created mankind in his own image. Adam and Eve are the first parents of all men and women. They were created in a perfect state but through their own fault they sinned against God. This sin is transmitted to every generation and is known as original sin. Every human being feels its effects.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
Genesis 3:8-13 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate."
Explanation of the Bible readings: Two important things are affirmed in the first sentence of the Old Testament: God created all things that exist outside of himself and that he alone is the creator. “In the beginning” means that creation marks the start of time, as we know it. God started time and history. It was God’s love and wisdom that moved him to create the universe. The expression “heaven and earth” means everything that exists.
God created men and women in his own image as rational and free beings with the capacity to know and to love Him. The ability to have a personal relationship with God is uniquely human. Man recognizes that he is in possession of an immortal and rational soul. All of creation is at the disposal of mankind and is for his benefit. In no way does this mean that creation should be abused. It should foster a greater respect for creation because it is a gift from God.
The Bible teaches us about the origin of evil in Genesis chapter 3. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents (CCC 390). Evil does not come from God; evil comes from sin. By listening to Satan, represented by the serpent, our first parents disobeyed God. The original sin was the beginning of evil in the world. The effects of this sin can be felt through all generations because it is transmitted to every descendant of Adam and Eve (except for the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ) through all ages.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
286 ….The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth…
289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God….
293 Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: "The world was made for the glory of God."….
296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance. God creates freely "out of nothing".
299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: "You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight." The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the "image of the invisible God", is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the "image of God" and called to a personal relationship with God….On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.
300 God is infinitely greater than all his works…..
How to read the account of the fall
390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.
391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil". The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."
395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign….
396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship…..The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
400 …. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay". Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground", for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.
The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity
402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: "By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned." …
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. ….And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.
405 Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is…an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
Concupiscence: Refers to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive contrary to the operation of the human reason.
Creation: The Holy Trinity created the world out of nothing. The word Creation can be used to describe all that is in existence by the creative action of God.
Original Sin: By their disobedience, Adam and Eve were deprived of holiness and justice. They sinned against God and chose to obey the Devil. All of mankind inherits this sin through all generations. This is a mystery of the faith.
Satan: A fallen angel who tempts us to disobey God.
Why does the Church teach that we need to believe in revelation to help us understand the existence of evil?
Name a few ways that Satan tempts us today?
What societal problems result from the effects of original sin?
- Tom Bosco
- I live in Suffolk County NY located in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. I have been involved in Catechesis for 10 years and accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church with complete faith. Above all, I want to spread the Gospel of salvation through the teachings of the Church. The contents of this blog have been taken from my RCIA course entitled RCIA: The Way, the Truth, and the Life, available at www.lulu.com/tombosco
- Introduction to RCIA Process
- RCIA Nuts & Bolts
- Lesson 1 - Introductory Lesson
- Lesson 2 - The Call of the Disciple
- Lesson 3 - Who is God? The Trinity!
- Lesson 4 - The Bible is the Word of God
- Lesson 5 - The Liturgy of the Word
- Lesson 6 - The Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Lesson 7 - Lord, Teach Us to Pray
- Lesson 8 - The Catholic Church
- Lesson 9 - The Pope, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons...
- Lesson 10 - The Family is the Domestic Church
- Lesson 11 - Nothing is Impossible with God
- Lesson 12 - Creation and the Fall
- ▼ December (14)