Baltimore Catechism 3

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The Creation and the Fall of Man


 * Q. 48. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.


 * The soul and the body are not loosely connected parts of man; they are united in a substantial union to form one complete human nature. The soul is not located in any particular member of the body but is whole and entire in each part.

 * > "And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).

 * > "And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).


 * Q. 49. Is this likeness to God in the body or in the soul?
A. This likeness to God is chiefly in the soul.


 * All creatures bear some resemblance to God inasmuch as they exist. Plants and animals resemble Him insofar as they have life, but none of these creatures is made to the image and likeness of God. Plants and animals do not have a rational soul, such as man has, by which they might know and love God.


 * Q. 50. How is the soul like God?
A. The soul is like God because it is a spirit having understanding and free will, and is destined to live forever.


 * Men are especially like God when they know and love Him: first, in a merely natural way without the aid of grace; second, in a supernatural way here on earth, with the aid of grace; third, in a perfect way in heaven, with the aid of the special light God gives to the souls of the blessed.

 * Understanding is the power of the soul to apprehend, to judge, and to reason, and thus to know right and wrong. Conscience is that judgment by which we decide here and now what we should do as good or avoid as evil. Free will is that power of the soul to choose either to act or not to act. Human souls live forever because they are spirits. 7 The never-ending life of the soul is called immortality.

 * > "And the dust return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God, who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

 * > "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" (Matthew 10:28).

 * > "These will go into everlasting punishment, but the just into everlasting life" (Matthew 25:46).


 * Q. 51. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve, the first parents of the whole human race.


 * The theory of evolution which teaches that higher forms of life develop from lower forms has offered no convincing, scientific proof that the human body developed gradually from that of a lower animal.

 * If scientific proof of such development of the body of man could be had, it would not be opposed to Catholic doctrine provided that some special action of God is admitted not only in the creation of the soul but also in the production of the body of Adam. The human soul, being spiritual, could not possibly have developed from a lower, material form of life. Sacred Scripture teaches that Adam's soul, like every human soul, was created directly by God.

 * See Scripture, question 48, Genesis 2:7.


 * Q. 52. What was the chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God?
A. The chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God was sanctifying grace, which made them children of God and gave them the right to heaven.


 * Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift which is a sharing in the nature of God Himself and which raises men to the supernatural order, conferring on them powers entirely above those proper to human nature. Together with sanctifying grace God gave Adam and Eve the supernatural virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

 * > "For just as by the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the one the many will be constituted just" (Romans 5:19).


 * Q. 53. What other gifts were bestowed on Adam and Eve by God?
A. The other gifts bestowed on Adam and Eve by God were happiness in the Garden of Paradise, great knowledge, control of the passions by reason, and freedom from suffering and death.

 * These gifts are not supernatural or above all created natures, but they are preternatural, that is, beyond the powers of human nature, though not above all created natures. If Adam had not sinned, these gifts would have been transmitted to all men as the possession of human nature.

 * > "He created of him a helpmate like to himself: he gave them counsel, and a tongue and eyes, and ears, and a heart to devise: and he filled them with the knowledge of understanding. He created in them the science of the spirit: he filled their heart with wisdom, and shewed them both good and evil" (Ecclesiasticus 17:5-6)

 * > "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world and through sin death, and thus death has passed unto all men because all have sinned-for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law" (Romans 5:12-13).


 * Q. 54. What commandment did God give Adam and Eve?
A. God gave Adam and Eve the commandment not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree that grew in the Garden of Paradise. 8


 * God wished to test the obedience of our first parents in order that they might have the privilege of proving themselves faithful to Him and of meriting, in a special way, everlasting happiness in heaven.

 * > "And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day so ever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death" (Genesis 2:16-17).


 * Q. 55. Did Adam and Eve obey the commandment of God?
A. Adam and Eve did not obey the commandment of God, but ate of the forbidden fruit.


 * In eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve committed sins of pride and disobedience. Our first parents sinned grievously because they deliberately disobeyed a grave command of God.

 * > "And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat" (Genesis 3:6).


 * Q. 56. What happened to Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
A. On account of their sin Adam and Eve lost sanctifying grace, the right to heaven, and their special gifts; they became subject to death, to suffering, and to a strong inclination to evil, and they were driven from the Garden of Paradise.


 * The loss of sanctifying grace and the special gifts marked the beginning of that conflict between man's lower powers and his reason, of which Saint Paul says, "The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh ... " (Galatians 5:17). Sacred Scripture teaches us that Adam, by the grace of God, later obtained the remission of his sin.

 * > "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return" (Genesis 3:19)

 * > "And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21).

 * > "And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken" (Genesis 3:23).

 * > "She preserved him, that was first formed by God, the father of the world, when he was created alone, and she brought him out of his sin and gave him power to govern all things" (Wisdom 10:1-2).


 * Q. 57. What has happened to us on account of the sin of Adam?
A. On account of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, come into the world deprived of sanctifying grace and inherit his punishment, as we would have inherited his gifts had he been obedient to God.


 * > "But, by the envy of the devil, death came into the world" (Wisdom 2:24).

 * > "For just as by the disobedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the one the many will be constituted just" (Romans 5:19).


 * Q. 58. What is this sin in us called?
A. This sin in us is called original sin.


 * Q. 59. Why is this sin called original?
A. This sin is called original because it comes down to us through our origin, or descent, from Adam.


 * > See Scripture, question 53, Romans 5:12-13.


 * Q. 60. What are the chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin?
A. The chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin are death, suffering, ignorance, and a strong inclination to sin.


 * The fact of original sin explains why man is so often tempted to evil and why he so easily turns from God. Because of the ignorance resulting from original sin, the mind of man has difficulty in knowing many necessary truths, easily falls into error, and is more inclined to consider temporal than eternal things.

 * The penalties of original sin-death, suffering, ignorance, and a strong inclination to sin--remain after Baptism, even though original sin is taken away. Although we have a strong inclination to evil as a result of original sin, our nature is not evil in itself; it can perform some good actions in the natural order without the aid of grace.

 * > "For the imagination and thought of man's heart are prone to evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21).


 * Q. 61. Is God unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam?
A. God is not unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam, because original sin does not take away from us anything to which we have a strict right as human beings, but only the free gifts which God in His goodness would have bestowed on us if Adam had not sinned.


 * Original Sin; its bad effects; its good effects (Our Lord became Man because it - notice the upper left and right inserts)

 * This picture shows the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God had forbidden them, under pain of death, to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve, deceived by the demon who hid himself under the form of a serpent, ate of the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband who similarly ate of it.

 * Adam and Eve, having lost the grace of God by their sin, became subject to ignorance, uncontrolled passions, pain, and death, and they were banished from the earthly paradise.

 * At the bottom, the Angel of the Lord, armed with a flaming sword, is driving Adam and Eve from the earthly paradise. Subject to the miseries of life, they will fall under the blow of Death, who waits for them with a scythe in his hand.

 * The Cross of Jesus Christ, which is seen at the top left, signifies that Our Lord delivered us from original sin by His death. God had promised this deliverance to our first parents by announcing to them that one day a son of the woman would crush the head of the infernal serpent.

 * On the right, a priest is baptizing a little child, showing that baptism washes away the stain of original sin in us.


 * Q. 62. Was any human person ever preserved from original sin?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of her Divine Son; and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.


 * In the first instant of her conception the Blessed Virgin Mary possessed the fullness of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. She was, however, subject to pain and suffering, as was her Divine Son. By a special privilege of Almighty God, Our Blessed Mother was free throughout her life from all actual sin, both mortal and venial.

 * > "I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed: he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel" (Genesis 3:15).

 * > "And when the angel had come to her, he said, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women' " (Luke 1:28).




 * There are many persons in the world who believe that human beings are merely animals of a higher type than the other animals on earth, and like them are destined to perish entirely with death. Against this materialistic view the Catholic Church holds the doctrine that every human being has a spiritual soul that is like to God Himself-a soul that will never die but will live for all eternity. Every human soul is directly created by God.

 * The Bible describes in great detail the beginning of the human race. God created a man, named Adam, forming his body from the dust of earth and creating his soul. Shortly afterward God made Eve from a rib of Adam, whose wife she was to be. Then the Almighty blessed the pair as husband and wife, bidding them: "Increase and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). God bestowed on Adam and Eve wonderful privileges. They dwelt in a beautiful garden; they were free from inordinate inclinations to sin; they were preserved from suffering; they were destined never to die, but after a space of time on earth, to be taken, body and soul, into heaven. Above all, they were endowed with the precious gift of sanctifying grace that made them the beloved children of God.

 * It was God's plan that these privileges should be transferred from Adam to all his descendants. However, He made this dependent on the faithfulness of Adam in obeying His command not to eat the fruit of a particular tree. Adam disobeyed; and hence lost these precious gifts for himself and for all his descendants. Eve also sinned and lost the privileges for herself. There was no injustice on God's part in depriving Adam's descendants of these privileges because of his sin. The favors He gave our first parents were purely gratuitous; our first parents had no right to them. Hence, there was no injustice on the part of God in withholding them from Adam's descendants. It was as if a wealthy man told a poor man he could live in a splendid house on his property and pass it on to his descendants, if he would obey a certain command; if the poor man disobeyed, and accordingly lost the fine residence for himself and for his children, the rich man would be doing them no wrong by depriving them of the house.

 * The entire human race is descended from Adam and Eve; hence, we all enter the world deprived of the gifts we should have had if Adam had not sinned. The deprivation of sanctifying grace, called original sin, brings with it the necessity of submitting to suffering and to death. This is the significance of the words spoken by God to Adam after his sin, and repeated to each of the faithful on Ash Wednesday when the priest places ashes on his brow: "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return" (Genesis 3:19). Yet, through the goodness of God we can recover sanctifying grace, and even though we are not restored entirely to the original state of our first parents, who were free from suffering and death and inordinate inclinations to sin, we can make these penalties of Adam's transgression the occasions of practicing virtue.

 * Nowadays many persons, claiming that man is descended from an animal, such as an ape, reject the account of creation given in the Bible. We admit that God could have brought the human race into existence in this way as regards the body of man; and if the evolutionary theory to this extent were ever proved, we should have no difficulty in admitting it. The soul of man, however, can come into being only by the direct act of the Creator.

 * Our Blessed Lord, since He is God, could have no original sin. Furthermore, original sin is transmitted to an infant by its father when he shares in giving it life, and Our Lord had no earthly father. Moreover, it is a doctrine of the Catholic faith that His Blessed Mother, Mary, on account of her great dignity as Mother of God, was preserved from original sin in the very first moment of her existence. This great privilege is known as her Immaculate Conception.

 * Catholics should have a clear idea of the meaning of the Immaculate Conception, since many persons confuse it with the virginal conception of Jesus Christ, which was an entirely different privilege of our Lady. God spoke of the Immaculate Conception immediately after the sin of our first parents, when He promised a Redeemer, and added that the Mother of the Redeemer would be at perpetual enmity with the devil, the author of sin: "I will put enmities between thee (the devil) and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head" (Genesis 3:15). This doctrine of Mary's Immaculate Conception is contained also in the Tradition of the Church, which has always attributed to Mary the fullest possible measure of holiness and freedom from sin. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is a holyday of obligation, celebrated on December 8th. Moreover, Mary Immaculate is the Patroness of the United States of America.

 * RESOLUTION: Resolve to call on our Blessed Mother in time of temptation with the prayer that honors her Immaculate Conception: "Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee"; (Indulgence: 300 days; Plenary indulgence under usual conditions. S.P. Ap., April 15, 1932).

 * Complete Exercises For Lesson 5


 * A. TRUE OR FALSE. (Check each of the following statements as either true or false. The correct answers can be found in the preceding portion of the lesson.)

 * Every living creature has understanding and free will.

 * There are some races of men who are not descended from Adam and Eve.

 * If Adam had been obedient to God we should have come into the world in sanctifying grace.

 * Baptism takes away all the effects of original sin.

 * God does not deprive us, on account of original sin, of anything to which we have a strict right as human beings.

 * The freedom from suffering and death granted to Adam and Eve was not a supernatural gift.

 * A human being even in the state of original sin can perform some good deeds.

 * Adam did not obtain the pardon of his sin.

 * The sin of Adam and Eve was a mortal sin.

 * The Immaculate Conception means that the Blessed Virgin Mary became the mother of Christ without losing her virginity.



 * (Answer the questions orally or write them as your teacher may direct):


 * Alice and Zita are in an ice cream parlor and are about to order some refreshments. Show how they may exercise their free wills in the enjoyment of the treat.

 * Bartholomew and his brother Yves are amused by the stunts of the trained animals at the circus. The animals can perform many wonderful tricks at the orders of their masters and mistresses. Are such animals intelligent? Have they understanding and free will? If not, how do you explain their actions?

 * Amelia's pet kitten, Tabby, was run over and killed by an automobile.

 * Amelia is greatly saddened over the mishap. Did Tabby have a soul? Will Tabby's soul ever come back to make Tabby live again? Explain your answers.

 * Charlie says that conscience is a feeling that something is right or wrong. Bob says it is a judgment of the understanding. Which definition do you prefer? Why?

 * Theresa tells Ursula there must necessarily be perfect and complete harmony between genuine scientific discoveries and the revelations of God in the Bible and in Tradition. Ursula asks why. Theresa's reply is: "God is the Author of the Bible and Tradition, and the same God is the Author of the Book of Nature. God cannot contradict Himself." Write two or three sentences containing your approval of Theresa's answer.

 * Edith has a bad attack of the mumps. Do you think we should have had the mumps if Adam had not sinned?

 * Caroline wonders if original sin has anything to do with her poor report card of last month. Has it? Explain your answer.

 * If, up to the present day, the human race were sinless would there be any hospitals, funerals, cemeteries, prisons, insane asylums, or wars? What is the reason for your answer?

 * With the preceding question and answer in mind, write a paragraph of four or five sentences telling what you think about the effects of original sin. Compare original sin with other evils.

 * Annually, how are we reminded by the Church of the penalty the human race must pay for original sin?

 * Stanislaus is showing the parish church to his Protestant friend Schuyler. Schuyler wants to know about the statue representing a lady standing on the world, with a half-moon beneath her feet; she is crushing the head of a serpent. Explain who the lady is and why she is thus represented.


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