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ORIGINAL SIN AND REDEMPTION
Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Wednesday, 5th Week of the Year, February 11, 2009
Gen 2:4-9,15-17; Ps 103; Mk 7:14-23


"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Gen 2:16-17).


In the beginning God created man in a state of perfection, righteousness, and intimacy with God, and he created him immortal, "for God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it" (Wisdom 2:23-24). God gave Adam a clear commandment not to eat of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen 2:17). For having disobeyed this commandment, he would die, that is, he became mortal. He also lost his state of righteousness and intimacy with God because of his sin, and was cast out of the garden of Eden (Gen 3:22-24).


Christ was sent into the world to restore man to a state of righteousness before God, and to conquer death. The death of Christ on the cross destroyed our spiritual death, that is, our separation and alienation from God; and his resurrection is the first fruits of the resurrection of our body on the last day, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor 15:22). In this way Christ destroyed our death.


Because of his sin, Adam lost his state of righteousness and intimacy with God; and his descendents would inherit only what Adam had to bequeath to them. God would send Jesus Christ so that through faith in him, man might recover his state of righteousness and intimacy with God, being forgiven for his sins and clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ himself, "For by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Rom 5:19).


The disobedience of Adam, together with its negative consequences for us, is canceled out by the obedience of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ obeyed by dying on the cross in place of us, thus accepting into himself our just punishment for our sins; and so by this just act of one single man, Christ, all those who believe in him are constituted righteous; just as by the unjust act of one single man, Adam, all are constituted sinners. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men" (Rom 5:18).


 


 


 

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