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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Mary the Second Eve and Perfection

In order to believe in the Second Eve, one must believe in the First Eve. If one does not believe in Original Sin, or original innocence, how does one believe in the Incarnation, the Passion and Resurrection of Christ?

I am still working on my series on perfection and have been thinking about one of the dangers of the theory of evolution, which, as all thinking people know, is a theory.

In Catholic doctrine, we must believe that we have descended from one man and one woman. We conveniently and because of tradition, call these first two parents Adam and Eve. We cannot believe in group creation, which is a clear departure from the idea that all humans come from one set of special male and female parents.

We also believe that these parents were perfect, in the sense that they had no concept of sin or evil. That had what the Church describes as "preternatural gifts", including health and immortality, the lack of decay and disease, a will and emotional life which were not inclined to sin (integrity), a clear and keen intellect including infused knowledge, and communion with God in His grace. God created man and woman in His own Image and Likeness, which would reflect the Beauty of God. Man and woman are, as we are reminded in the CCC, "the summit of the Creator's work". Man is the only creature who is "able to know and love his creator". In the same section in the CCC, we read that " He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons." The CCC insists on the common origin of the human race. Many references in the CCC should be studied, including Humani generis, which I have quoted before on this blog.

There was a happiness and a holiness which belonged to our first parents which was lost by sin.

The trouble with evolution, which we are allowed to believe in as Catholics, as long as we believe in only two parents of the entire human race, and the creation of the soul and body by God, is that it denies the original perfection of the human race and believes in the false, and heretical idea of progressiveness, which means that people are getting more and more holy and perfect through-out history. This is a modernist heresy condemned by the Church, and those documents may be seen on the side of this blog.

The common ideas of early humans indicates that they seem less than perfect, and atheistic interpretations of creation want those images to be burned into our memories. If Adam and Eve were created in a perfect state of humanity, albeit, a state which would indicate the seriousness of Original Sin; that is, that they should have "known better",  just as Lucifer should have foreseen his fallen state, then the common ideas of man and woman as ugly and even deformed according our ideas of beauty.

As the CCC quotes, from Romans, death enter into the world through the sin of Adam and Eve.
This sin brought disease, decay, the clouding of the intellect, concupiscence, the weakening of the will. These were NOT present in the first parents. So, one can see the problem with the views of evolution which deny an original perfection.

In other words, we are less perfect, without grace and purification, than our first parents. It is only in Jesus Christ and through the sacramental life of the Church that we regain states of holiness and perfection. Baptism takes away Original Sin and makes us Children Of God. The Gifts of the Spirit, given in Confirmation, restore us to a state of progress in the Holy Spirit, which does not happen otherwise. Conforming to the Mind of Christ is conformity to the teachings of the Church and the spiritual journey to perfection, without which, no one sees God. 

If man and woman are seen as not being perfect, that leads to a denial of the seriousness or even existence of Original Sin. If one does not believe in Original Sin, then there is no need for the Incarnation, the Passion and the Resurrection, the Church, the Sacraments, especially Baptism, and the entire life of grace given through the Sacraments of the Church.

The most common sin of the modern day is the denial of sin and the subsequent denial of hell. The heresy of universal salvation is believed even by some Catholics, including priests, one who teaches this from the pulpit not too far from where I am at this moment. How many people are going to hell because of this denial of the Justice of God, the Purity of God? (*see my post above on the Perfection of God).

One reason why it is so hard to be a saint in today's society for many people is that they simply do not believe in original goodness, a perfection which can be restored through Christ and His Church.

Mary is called by the Church, (and I recommend an excellent little book by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Neman on this—Tan Books re-issued it years ago) the New Eve or the Second Eve. That Mary was born without Original Sin, in fact conceived without Original Sin, makes her the new Eve. She is perfect as Eve was before the Fall, with all the graces and perfections of Eve before the Fall.

Mary is the Immaculate Conception. Eve was created without sin. But, Eve's fall caused all her children to live in sin, whereas Mary's perfection brought God into the world.

Here is a section from Newman's book: And so of the great Mother of God, as far as a creature can be like the Creator; her ineffable purity and utter freredom from any shadow of sin, her Immaculate Conception, her ever-virginity—these her prerogatives (in spite of her extreme youth at the time when Gabriel came to her) are such as to lead us to exclaim in the prophetic words of Scripture, both with awe and with exultation, “Thou art the glory of Jerusalem and the joy of Israel; thou art the honour of our people; therefore hat the hand of the Lord strenghtened thee, and therefore art thou blessed for ever.

Evolution, if believed by a Catholic, must include a belief in the original perfection and beauty of our first parents. Without this basic belief in the first parents and their state of grace, the rest of the History of Salvation, makes no sense.


JonathanCatholic said...

I agree with you completely, and have often thought along similar lines myself. It's vital that Catholics understand that ideas definitely do have consequences, especially relating to our human nature. I am convinced that it is a lack of hope in making sense of human death and suffering that encourages the lack of respect for the human person in such things as abortion or cohabitation. Lack of confidence in the fact that God did intervene personally to give man a supernatural soul and destiny is tearing Western Civilization apart at the seams, because what you believe regarding human nature affects your entire perspective on all of human reality. It's only a recovering of this truth that there is a divine element to man that resides in the image of God that has been placed in him, the soul which God has formed in him personally and through which God has called him to accountability to live a divinely moral life in relationship with God, that can save the West. It's at the heart of all philosophy.

Supertradmum said...

Of course, you are correct in stating that one cannot see an idea outside of the complex relationships of others. It is the duty of the Catholic philosopher, such as yourself, to help others see these connections. Our origins inform our ends.

Nicole said...

I would like to say that I am impressed that you are undertaking to address some very interesting topics on your blog. I think that a lot of what I may take exception with in your articles may be semantic difference, but it is my hope that you and I are in communion.

That said, I do not know why it is that writers who profess to be Catholic often say that those who profess to be Catholic are allowed to buy into this hypothesis (not a theory, since there is no certain scientific support for the hypothesis; even Pope Pius XII chimed in that it "has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences"). I honestly don't see how a person who claims the name "catholic" could in good conscience buy into what we commonly call evolution (not so for speciation or adaptation, since the essence of the being remains immutable and the change is only accidental). Can you explain where this notion comes from that belief in evolution is an acceptable position for a person who professes to be Catholic? Also, couldn't the point be put forth validly that to buy into the common notion of evolution is to depart from one's natural dignity as a human being in that evolution is opposed to rational thought?

Also, I object to your notion that heresy can be believed by a person and the person still remain "catholic." ("The heresy of universal salvation is believed even by some Catholics...") How is this so if heresy cuts one off from the Mystical Body and the supernatural virtue of faith is required in order to be actually "catholic" (which virtue heresy destroys)?

Supertradmum said...

Firstly, the easy one to answer. If a Catholic is a heretic, that is, not believing in the teaching of the Catholic Church, he is a Protestant by definition. So, we agree. I could have added that clarifying sentence. When I said that some Catholics are heretical, I mean just that. They may be in ignorance, but as Fulton J.Sheen said, an ignorant Catholic is a Protestant. We agree on this point.

The Church in a document and in recent statements from popes not encyclicals has oked the belief in some sort of evolution. Humani Generis opened the door to accepting a theistic type of evolution."The Church does not forbid that ... research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter".

John Paul II's famous 1996 statement, which includes this "Theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man." clarified that a purely materialistic evolution without the idea of the instant creation of a soul and NOT an evolution of the soul,was the teaching of the Church. We cannot believe, as I noted, a progressive consciousness of the soul. Without getting into too much detail here, the present Pope and the best Catholic scientists support Intelligent Design. The details are rarely discussed, which is why I wrote this post. I can easily add more to this discussion with more posts, if people are interested. We must believe that God created the soul, period, at one time in history and that is my basis for the argument on perfection.

Supertradmum said...

PS, also check out the CCC

Nicole said...

Thanks much for your thoughtful response. I really appreciate that you took the time to answer. I am glad that we are finding a consensus on these points and that you are so willing to provide your sources. I think that sharing your sources shows an immense honesty.