I read this statement from the Catholic resource. Q. 255

A. We were not to remain in the Garden of Paradise forever even if Adam had not sinned, but after passing through the years of our probation or trial upon earth we were to be taken, body and soul, into heaven without suffering death.

What is this teaching based on within the Catholic Church?

There is a similar question and the answer that coincides with this statement mentions Genesis 3:22

Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil! Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever?

But I can't really see how that verse says we were not meant to stay in the paradise.

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    you mentioned the quote is from a catholic resource, why/how does this not answer your question? – depperm Aug 9 '17 at 13:29
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    Speculation. Not sure if this sort of "what if" question is a good fit for this particular site. – KorvinStarmast Aug 9 '17 at 13:35
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    @depperm, well, because normally the Church bases their knowledge on bible or tradition. And I'd like to know what is the reasoning behind concluding this. – Grasper Aug 9 '17 at 14:03
  • @KorvinStarmast, the Catholic Church never speculate but bases their truth on the bible or their tradition. So there must a reason to think that and I'd like to know what it is. I also edited my post. – Grasper Aug 9 '17 at 14:04
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    Typically, Catholic doctrine is based on former teachings. That site gave no reference for its answer. This answer needs more explanation, our final destination is bodily resurrection and a new heaven and new earth. That answer makes it sound like more of a spiritual existence. – Marc Aug 10 '17 at 12:31

There are two considerations here. First is that Catholics do not view the creation story as strictly literal. When we talk about the "garden of Eden', that certainly could have been a real place, but more importantly, it is symbolic of the harmonious existence humans held with the qualities of original justice, original holiness, the preternatural gifts, and the supernatural gifts. Were we to remain trapped in a walled off garden forever? No. Did God intend for us to enjoy the aforementioned gifts He gave us in the beginning for our entire extent in this world? Yes.

Second, one of the many titles Catholics give to Mary is "New Eve" because Mary embodies everything Eve meant to be before she chose against God. Mary is held to never have died;however, she is not here on Earth either. Catholics hold that Mary, after her time on Earth, was assumed body & soul into Heaven. It is reasonable to believe that had Eve never sinned, she and Adam would also been granted Heaven and spared death.

In short: that resource is correct with respect to Catholic beliefs.

  • Catholic tradition holds that Mary did die as a way to imitate her son. – Ken Graham Sep 28 '18 at 12:18

Since it's very hard, if dang near impossible, to get a Catholic answer on this, I think the musings of a couple priests will have to suffice.

Bullet point one

Either I or my wife asked a priest once how long Adam and Eve stayed in the garden of Eden and he said it was only a few hours, long enough for Adam to name everything, take a nap, get major surgery and for God to create Eve. So clearly if they were supposed to stay there forever, they didn't even come close.

Bullet point two

Paradise (i.e. the Garden of Eden) might not be the "Walled Garden" from the Song of Songs.

Paradise is a relationship! Notice that St. Paul when he was taken up to paradise doesn’t talk about what he saw. He talks about what he heard. Paradise was a fairly common word beyond its religious use. There were lots of “paradises.” Paradise was originally an Iranian word that meant a walled enclosure. It came to mean the garden in which a king could walk with his friends without the formality of the court in which his every word was law. It was a place of friendship, of intimate conversation. In the Bible it came to mean the garden of Eden where God walked in friendship with Adam and Eve. Paradise is about the relationship, not the real estate. In effect, Jesus said to St. Dismas, the good thief, “Today you will walk with me in my royal enclosure as my friend.”

Reverend Know it All

so you may ask how an Angel could guard a relationship, and I can't answer that.

But, I think the answer is yes, we were to remain in a close relationship with God if not for the Fall, but no we weren't supposed to necessarily remain in one walled garden.

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