The Antichrist in Muhammad: Original Sin, Part 1
justice, which is to say, salvation and eternal life in heaven.
In the Catholic view, man as originally created by God in Adam and Eve in a state of original justice might be seen as a building of three stories. While the analogy is not perfect, it will serve our purposes. The first floor might be called the floor of pure nature. The second story is the floor of the preternatural. The third floor is the floor of supernatural. Each level builds upon the lower level. (There is also a basement, more of which, later.)
The first floor of man, his natural makeup, is entirely natural. The natural man is composed of a material body and spiritual, rational soul. Though theologians call this state one of pure nature, it is, in a way, an abstraction since, as we know from revelation, man was intended from the very beginning to be in communion with God, to enjoy a life of sanctifying grace or divinization by adoption, and so the state of "pure nature" is never one that was intended by God as the ultimate end of man.
The second floor of man involves his so-called preternatural gifts. Traditionally, the Catholic theologians have seen these as being three in number: bodily immortality, integrity, and infused knowledge. These gifts are not strictly due human nature itself, but were gifts, graces intended for mankind on the condition it not sin. They do not surpass the capacities of nature, but were naturally-based prerogatives that were given to man at his origin. As originally created, man was physically and spiritual immortal, was free from concupiscence (which is to say there was perfect integrity between reason and body), and had infused knowledge of God, of morals, and of the cosmos.
The third floor of man involved the sanctifying grace that was Adam and Eve's supernatural gift, and which, in God's original design, was intended to be passed down to his progeny. In its most basic sense, sanctifying grace may be defined as a quality strictly supernatural, a gift of God to man, which inheres in the soul as a habit or relatively permanent presence, and by which we are made to participate in God's own nature. The gift of sanctifying grace is entirely supernatural in that it goes beyond the natural capacity of man. It is nothing owed to man by nature. It is nothing man can give himself. It is a pure, simple, magnificent gift of God. In a superlative sense, it is grace upon grace. (Cf. John 1:16)
As St. Thomas Aquinas expressed it: "Now the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature. And thus it is impossible that any creature should cause grace. For it is as necessary that God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness, as it is impossible that anything save fire should enkindle." (S.T. IaIIae, q. 112, c.)
As a result of the Fall, Adam and Eve (and through Adam all mankind) lost sanctifying grace, the preternatural gifts, and, as a result, damaged human nature. One might say that, as a result of the Fall, Adam and through him all men and women, were evicted as it were, from the third, second, and first floors, and as a result mankind found itself in residence in a basement, the place of post-lapsarian human nature, nature in the state of "original sin."
It is our fall from original grace, in particular, the loss of the supernatural life given freely by God to man who has no claim in justice to it (for the supernatural life is something beyond man's nature) and the loss of the preternatural gifts (again, a gift given freely to men by God which is not demanded by man's nature), from which all men suffer. And what is left as a result of the withdrawal of sanctifying grace and the preternatural gifts is not pure nature, but a damaged nature that bears the scars of its intended glory.
As G. K. Chesterton put it in his book Heretics, "Take away the supernatural, and what remains is the unnatural." Through the loss of our supernatural inheritance, man is in an unnatural state, an unnatural state we call the state of original sin. "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me," is the cry of all mankind. (Ps. 51:5 [50:7])
It is this loss of this original justice, the effects of the original sin, as well as from the guilt and punishment for our own personal or actual sins, that Our Lord Jesus, in his sacrificial and redemptive death on the Cross, meant to remedy. Jesus came to fix our natural life, and to restore our supernatural life.
As the Catholic Church beautifully expresses it in the Catechism, it is a gross mistake to approach ...
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Muhammad, antichrist, redemption, salvation, Jesus, original sin, original justice, sanctifying grace, Andrew M. Greenwell
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