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Matt Clark wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why would God take the special privilege of immortality from us after we have sinned?
  • I understand that we are finite beings and that an infinite offense against an Infinitely Holy God carries an infinite punishment (eternal death in Hell) but why couldn't we experience only eternal death, rather than both deaths?

Also:

  • How could a sinless Mary die?

I understand that she was supernaturally preserved from original sin and that she remained sinless her whole life.

  • Why didn't God give her a special privilege of immortality as she was without sin?
  • Also, why do Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception and Assumption when these teachings are not biblical?

Matt

  { Why would God take immortality from us after we have sinned and how could a sinless Mary die? }

Mike replied:

Hi Matt,

You said:

  • Why would God take the special privilege of immortality from us after we have sinned?

In the long run, he didn't.

Because the first man and first woman, Adam and Eve, freely chose to sin, there sin effected all of mankind, but not personally.

This portion of the Catechism should clarify what I’m saying:

The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity

402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: "By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned." (Romans 5:12,19) The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men." (Romans 5:18)

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul". (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1512) Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1514)

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". (St. Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 4,1) By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. 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. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1511-1512) 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. 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.

405 Although it is proper to each individual, (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513) original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called "concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

Because of Jesus’ redeeming, divine death on the Cross, the personal choice given to Adam and Eve is now given to each man and woman individually who has been baptized in Christ.

Those who have not yet been baptized yet believe in Jesus and His Divine teachings are encouraged to join the Catholic Church where you are guaranteed to find great sinners and, at the same time, find great saints! Although members in our Church may manifest scandalous behavior, the Church’s divine teachings will never change.

We choose, by our earthly choices, eternal damnation or eternal salvation.

You said:

  • I understand that we are finite beings and that an infinite offense against an Infinitely Holy God carries an infinite punishment (eternal death in Hell) but why couldn't we experience only eternal death, rather than both deaths?

I am not sure I understand your question. There is only one death. After we die, we are judged immediately by Jesus, Himself. It sounds like you are asking a similar question that my brother Mark asked a while ago. Tell me if this answers your question:

You said:

Also:

  • How could a sinless Mary die?

The Church has no official position on how our Blessed Mother died.

She only teaches that at the end of her earthly life, she was taken up into Heaven.

"the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things (n. 59)."]

Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII. See #44.

These postings should address all related questions to the one you have asked:

Don't let Protestant Fundamentalists confuse you. Yes, we and Our Blessed Mother are both 100% human, but in God's Plan of salvation, Mary was saved in anticipation of the Resurrection of Her Son, Immaculately while we pilgrimage our way to salvation on Earth.

Remember to search our database first before asking us a question we have probably already answered:

You said:
I understand that she was supernaturally preserved from original sin and that she remained sinless her whole life.

  • Why didn't God give her a special privilege of immortality as she was without sin?

She has that immortality, as we have.

  • Her choices have given her eternal salvation.
  • If we choose correctly in this life, we too can attain eternal salvation.
  • If we make bad choices, we have chosen eternal damnation.

You said:

  • Also, why do Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception and Assumption when these teachings are not biblical?

Your question has an implied, false premise:

That all Christian truth can be found by a fundamentalist reading of the Bible alone.

The Immaculate Conception and Assumption are biblical, if not explicitly, implicitly. The reason why most Protestants ask questions similar to this is because they reject the biblical teachings on Oral Tradition, which has been passed down from generation to generation since 33 A.D. and the time of Jesus’ glorious Ascension into Heaven.

The Bible is not a Catechism, nor is it an all-comprehensive book of Christian beliefs.

The Bible is a Catholic book, written and preserved by Catholics and their ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic Mass, our worship service.

If we are searching for the one Church that has the totality of the Christian faith, (meaning all the Teachings Jesus wants us to believe by word and actions), we have to turn to the Catholic Church.

What we can show is that many Catholic teachings are supported by the Bible. Check out my Scripture Passages web page (AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages) and specifically, these sections

I hope this helps,

Mike

Paul replied:

Hello Matt,

Along with Mike detailed response, I'll throw in my two cents.

Man is a unique being. Death is natural inasmuch as physical bodies by their nature wear out and stop functioning after a certain amount of time. Yet, the spiritual soul that makes us persons:

  • is not physical
  • does not disintegrate like bodies, and
  • is by its nature immortal.

  • Why create man with such a seemingly contradictory existential dilemma?

God created man that His Grace would enliven his soul to the point of keeping his body alive and in tact. Divine Life was to act as the catalyst of body-soul immortality and glorification but this divine life, which is the love of God, had to be accepted.

When it was offered man, in Adam, rejected it and human nature became more akin to the nature of animals. Concupiscence, suffering, and death became part of the condition that all people inherited at conception and a Savior was needed to win back Divine Life for man. The reason physical death goes hand-in-hand with eternal death is because the latter is the cause of the former. When man was dis-graced he lost the gift of immortality.

You ask:

  • Why didn't God give Mary back the special privilege of immortality as she was without sin?

That's a good question. One could ask the same about the baptized:

  • Why didn't God restore the preternatural gifts of integrity and immortality in those immediately upon faith and Baptism?

There is no explicit answer to this question in the Scripture or Tradition that I know of but it seems to me that God plans to restore man together as one body, at the same time. This time is the General Resurrection at the end of history. God offered the gift of immortality to mankind in Adam, and will restore it with mankind on the Last Day.

Peace,

Paul

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