April 05, 2011


In talking with a fundamentalist about creation and the fall, he was surprised that Catholics did not share views.

Later I decided to look it up in the Catechism:

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.

396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. the prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die." 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.

So you could interpret the two trees literally. The Catechism (the common teaching of the Church) seems to take them symbolically, one representing the opportunity for immortality in union with God and the other representing the moral limits that man must respect or fall out of harmony with God.


310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world "in a state of journeying" towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.

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