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If I am a rich man and spend all my money foolishly then my children and their children will be poor.This is part of the consequence of being created as rational and responsible people. The things we do have consequences.Yet we have no excuse, because God has provided every means we need to become rich again. Therefore we should concentrate on using all of the means given us so that we might be restored to the former state.Father Peter
We are taught that we do not inherit Adam's sin, yet we do suffer the consequences of his sin, the loss of Grace...
But WHY do we suffer the consequences of his in?
Why can't every human choose for themselves to separate themselves from God? Why are we bound by the decision Adam made?
If we claim that any human in Adam's place would have done the same, then we are saying that we were designed by God to fail..
And if any other human would NOT have committed Adam's sin, then why was Adam the one who had our fate in his hands?
And if Adam is simply a representation of all humans, that all humans were somehow IN him when he sinned, then we believe in Origines' teaching, which we don't.. also, we would believe in a sort of pre-existing soul that made the decision to sin with Adam, which leans very strongly toward Socrato-Platonic teaching..
This is part of the consequence of being created as rational and responsible people. The things we do have consequences.
Yet we have no excuse, because God has provided every means we need to become rich again. Therefore we should concentrate on using all of the means given us so that we might be restored to the former state.
but in the liturgy we pray: (not literally quoted) You created us and gave us all things but we disobeyed you etc etc.
(Liturgy of St. Basil:
Holy, Holy, Holy, truly O Lord, our God,
Who formed us, created us and placed
us in the paradise of joy. When we
disobeyed Your commandment by the
guile of the serpent, we fell from eternal
life, and were exiled from the Paradise
as if we are talking in Adam's voice, as if we were with him...
why is that?
(edit: added quote from the liturgy of St. Basil)
I really like this analogy. May I use it?
There have recently been a whole series of apologies by nations and organisations for things that happened a long time ago. These are controversial of course, but there is a sense that we are included in the responsibility of our fathers actions. I am thinking of the apology for British slavery for instance.
I think in the Liturgy we are putting ourselves in the place of Adam, not least because we have made no better use of all the gifts which God has given us. He did represent us as our father and messed up, and there is a human community in this so that what he did we can also put ourselves in his place and see that we have also been disobedient.
But we do not bear his sin. This is explicit in the Fathers. We bear the consequences of his sin, and we bear the guillt of our own sin.
Of course the analogy I used can be used by anyone anywhere and I am sure it can be improved.
So, when you say
He did represent us as our father and messed up, and there is a human community in this so that what he did we can also put ourselves in his place and see that we have also been disobedient
I can't help but wonder: are we even comparable? Adam sinned while he was in Eden, having everything under his authority, no worries, no fear etc. he was in the constant presence of God, we also sin, but I hardly find our situation comparable, we are faced with many difficulties and struggles that Adam never imagined.. so how does Adam represent us?
our nature after the fall is weakened by having lost the Grace of God that Adam and Eve used to enjoy,
but other than that, as I understand the teachings of our church, nothing else changed in our nature
but when we pray, we always ask that God have mercy on our weak selves who cannot stand alone against Satan as if we sin because we are too weak to do otherwise, the question: why is our nature inherently weaker than Satan, I understand it's weaker than God's, but why is it that we can't stand against Satan alone? And how is it possible that non-practising Christians can resist temptation when it comes to a sin that is an act (so not sin as in 'being far from God or missing the mark'? You might say, well, it's not just Satan, we also sin out of our own free will, even without Satan's temptations..
BUT How free are we? We pray: 'there is no slave free of sin, nor a master free of forgiveness' as if we are predetermined to sin (with sin here being a deliberate act of disobedience and not just 'being far from God or missing the mark', which one might say is the nature with which we were born, meaning being born without the grace of God)
St Paul says in his epistle to the Romans (7:15) "I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." What I don't understand is this: WHY do we sin? Is it ALWAYS simply because we choose to do so, or sometimes also because of our nature, our weakness, which is inherent to us, that we can't do anything about because once we are faced with Satan alone, we can't impossibly win the battle? I understand the word sin here can cause some confusion: sometimes it is understood as an act, whereas i was taught it stood for alienating onesself from God, or choosing the not-God, etc.)
most of us think we are much better than we actually are. eg if anyone asks us what we do if the house catches fire, we hope that we would take care to help everyone escape.
but in real life, maybe we would just run out in a panic and think about everyone else after.
so it's like, being good can be quite hard.
we know we should do it, but (eg) maybe loving our enemy and being nice to him will make us look weak in front of our class mates or work colleagues so we join in with everyone else and laugh at him.
it's not that we are too weak to do good, but that we don't always take the time to study the Bible and pray and give up our selfish desires.
so sometimes we are mean to people and then feel bad about it. i think that's the sort of thing saint paul was talking about.
1 corinthians 10:13 says that God will allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
It seems to me that most Orthodox theology requires a variety of images and analogies to help us gain a fuller understanding.
When nations practiced slavery, and of course it is still taking place, the unborn children of a slave already belonged to the slave owner. I think that it is in this sort of a sense that we are considered 'in Adam'. The state of a person determined the state of his children because his children were 'in him'. So the state of being a slave meant that the unborn children would be slaves. If the slave could have run away, or earned his freedom, then his unborn children would be free. But if he remained a slave then his unborn children were already considered to be slaves.
So, in a sense, and not absolutely as if this is the one true answer, our state was and is determined by the choices of our forefather. He became a slave, and so even while unborn, we also became slaves.
I think it would be a mistake to consider this THE answer, it surely just provides one more aspect of the more complete understanding. We also need to be aware that we are not born sinners, but we are born mortal. That we are judged on the basis of our own actions and choices even though we are born in a state of spiritual death because of the sin of Adam. There are other aspects of this which we should also consider, but we must consider the many aspects together, not choosing just one.
You have read lots of RC material.....my questions are: Do you partake of the Holy Eucharist in the RCC? How were u received into the RCC? Do u consider urself Orthodox and RC?