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The Catholic Church teaches that (CCC 366),

every spiritual soul is created immediately by God — it is not 'produced' by the parents.

So, if every soul is uniquely created by God and is not produced by the parents, why is it still subject to original sin?

  • You ask a good question here. If each soul is immediately created by God and not produced by the parents the decree in Romans 5:12 is of no meaning. – Kris Jul 13 at 18:27
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By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice [sic]. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

Catechism of the Catholic Church ... III Original Sin ... Paragraph 404

The catechism here makes clear that sin is a matter of the transmissible human nature. Sin is a matter of humanity, of flesh and blood. And the flesh and blood, the humanity, that is inherited by natural generation, is that in which sin is transmitted.

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    How does the Catechism then reconcile "The soul that sins, it shall die." if it is a matter of the transmissible human nature? Does the human nature angle only apply to 'original sin' as a disposition (as Oswald Chambers likes to say)? – Mike Borden Jul 13 at 11:10
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    @MikeBorden According to Catholicism, man has an immortal soul. If a soul sins seriously and in an unrepentant state at death, it will be damned to hell. This is the death in which the Church says evil souls will die. Holy individual’s will go to heaven. Besides the Church teaches there is a difference between actual sin and original sin. This is not asked here. Nigel’s answer, as brief as such is correct. – Ken Graham Jul 13 at 11:19
  • In the same paragraph the Church states: "Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand." – WolfgangP Jul 13 at 21:04
  • "Sin is a matter of humanity, of flesh and blood." This implies that human nature is solely flesh and blood. However, Catholicism teaches that human nature is body and soul. – remline Jul 13 at 21:08
  • Your answer implies that the soul is not subject to original sin, but the the entanglement of it with flesh and blood, which makes it human nature, is. Still, when one dies, it is the soul which lives on, flesh and blood are left behind. Does this then also imply that original sin is "washed away" at the time of death, since the soul is separated from flesh and blood? – WolfgangP Jul 13 at 21:23
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God's creation of a soul subject to original sin is part of a broader question – why is there evil in God's creation? One aspect of that broad question is that evil is a privation of good. The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas:

Evil, according to St. Thomas, is a privation, or the absence of some good which belongs properly to the nature of the creature. (I,Q. xiv, a. 10; Q. xlix, a. 3; Contra Gentiles, III, ix, x).

Due to original sin, human nature lacks the holiness that is proper to it. Hence CCC 405 explains that

[Original sin] is a deprivation of original holiness and justice

Human nature is a "unity of soul and body" (cf. CCC 365). By original sin, both soul and body are damaged. Since all men share this fallen nature, all men are subject to this fall in both soul and body.

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    Does this mean that when God creates a new soul it is flawed? – Kris Jul 13 at 23:06
  • Sounds like Thomas (again), in his philosophy, misunderstands or misrepresents Augustine, and for sure hypothesizes something alien to the apostles, Christ, the prophets, the OT, the New, Scripture, the Bible, the church. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make oneself wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew...And...hid. Their affirmative receipt of death made more than an absence of good – Walter S Jul 14 at 22:35
  • @WalterSmetana, those aspects of original sin can still be analyzed by looking at evil as a privation. Eve's pride was a privation of the humility proper to her as a creature; Adam's disobedience was a privation of the obedience proper to him as a creature; Adam and Eve's receipt of death was a privation of the immortality that had been given them as a gift. – remline Jul 15 at 3:41
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The question accepts that every soul is subject to original sin, it then goes on to ask why. One can peal back one layer and say that every soul is subject to original sin because Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but that does not tell why they did.

  1. Can humans obey God's law without God's help/grace?

  2. Could God have given Adam the grace to obey?

  3. Why did God withhold from Adam the grace to obey?

I think these 3 questions are all part of the why which is being asked.

Ans 1. In Job the Devil obeys God but not God's law of love. To obey God's law we need the power of God that raised Christ from the tomb to work in us.

Ans 2. If God had had a different plan for creation then things would have been different. But given the plan He had it was not His intention that Adam would precede Jesus in obedience.

Ans 3. God alone is holy and therefore His creation, which is not Him, is not holy. God is holy in demonstrating this, which He does by giving a command that Adam will fail at. Adam's failure becomes Christ's opportunity.

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