A Manual of Catholic Theology, Based on Scheeben's Dogmatik
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With a Preface By Cardinal Manning
VOLUME II --Book IV --The Fall
The supernatural dignity of adoptive sonship conferred by the Creator upon His creatures was lost to a portion of the angels by their revolt, and to the whole of mankind by Adam's disobedience. We shall therefore divide this book into three chapters: I. Sin; II. The Fall of the Angels; III. The Fall of Man.
Alex, of Hales, Summa, p. ii. q. 94 sq.; St. Bonav. In ii. Sent.; St. Thom. 1* 2*, qq. 71-89 and Qq. Dispp. De Malo y with the commentaries of Suarez, Tanner, the Salmanticenses, Gonet, and Gotti; Bellarmine, Controv. De Amissione Gratia et Statu Peccati; Kilber, De Peccatis; Kleutgen, vol. ii.
CHAPTER I. Sin.
Sect 155. --General Notions of Evil and Sin.
I. 1. Every substance is in itself good; it becomes bad only when it is itself deprived of some perfection or when it deprives another substance of some perfection. Hence evil is the privation of some good, or a corruption of good. It is nothing positive, but the negation of a positive perfection. However, evil mostly consists of some positive disposition opposed to the perfection of the subject, which disposition is then evil in as far as it implies the negatives of perfection. As evil is only an accident, it must exist in a substance as its subject. Again, since it connotes a deficiency in perfection, it can only exist in finite and changeable beings. In these, however, the possibility of evil is connatural with the changeableness consequent upon their origin out of nothing; as no definite grade of perfection is essential to them, so the amount they actually receive is capable of decrease or increase. In the case of man, his composition of mind and matter necessarily exposes him to certain evils or imperfections.
2. The cause of evil is not something evil in itself. On the contrary, evil can only be produced accidentally by a cause which is itself good, and aims at some good object In bodily evils this is manifest; the causes which inflict bodily suffering do so in the exercise of forces which are good in themselves, but which come into conflict with other forces. The evils arising from free actions are due to a good but misapplied principle. Sin, in particular, is possible only because it appears to the sinner as a subjective good. Hence the axiom: Evil is caused by good (causa mali bonum). Evil has, however, no efficient but rather a deficient cause; it owes its existence either to the defective action of a positive cause or to defective resistance to opposing influences
3. From a theological point of view, evils may be divided into two classes: Voluntary evils (Sins) and Involuntary evils (Pain and Suffering). The evils of the first class are really "the" evil, that is, objects to be avoided and hated. They are also the greatest evils, because they injure at the same time their own author and the Author of nature. God cannot cause, but only permit and oppose them. The evils of the second class are only evils of the subject which naturally abhors them, yet they are not so detestable as to be avoided in all cases. God may cause them and use them as means to His ends; notably, as a penalty for sin. In the original order established by Him, there was no room for evils of this class. They came into the world with sin. As a matter of fact, then, all evils existing in this world spring from sin, the greatest and original evil. Hence the above division is equivalent to another which distinguishes "Evils of Guilt" and "Evils of Penalty" (mala culpae, mala poenae). Many evils may, however, be at the same time a guilt and a penalty.
II. Sin, jn its theological and proper sense, consists in the conscious and voluntary transgression, lesion, or denial of the moral order imposed upon the creature by Divine Law. The philosophical notion of sin does not contain the element of Divine command. What to the theologian is a voluntary transgression of the law of God is looked upon by the philosopher as a transgression of the rational and natural order. Yet even in sound philosophy the notion of sin ought not to be dissociated from disobedience to the Lawgiver, for sin is always an action against the dictates of conscience, and these are but the commanding voice of God (Rom. ii. 14-16).
I. Hence the essence of sin consists in the more or less express opposition of the human will against the Divine Will, an opposition which implies a certain neglect or contempt of the Divine Will itself. This contempt involves an "aversion from God as the ultimate End," that is, a refusal of the submission and love which are His due. Sin averts or turns away the creature from God as the Highest Good in Himself, and from God as the Highest Good of the creature itself, in Whom alone it can find perfect beatitude. It seeks outside God a satisfaction or pleasure incompatible with the possession and fruition of God. On God's side, the contempt of His will by the creature constitutes an offence and an insult, according to the saying, "The lawbreaker offends the lawmaker." And this offence always includes an "injury;" that is, it injures or damages the external glory of God. For this reason, Holy Scripture describes sin as injustice, and injury; Again, sin being always committed under the very eyes or in the face of God, it must needs excite His displeasure, abhorrence, indignation, and anger. These affections in God are not accompanied by the same feelings as in man (sect. 65), yet they exist in Him eminently; and it is not the defect of malice in sin, but God's own immutability, which prevents Him from being affected with infinite pain by the sinner. In sins against the theological virtues, and against the virtue of religion, the aversion and offence assume a direct character, because God is the immediate object of these virtues.
2. Sin is clearly the greatest of evils --and an absolute evil, because it deprives the Greatest and Absolute Good of the honour due to Him. It is, however, infinite only in a restricted sense, viz. inasmuch as being directed against the Infinite Good, it deserves to be detested with a hatred as great as the love due to God; and inasmuch as it surpasses in greatness any quantity of other evils, and cannot be fully compensated for by any number of finite good works.
3. Sin acquires a special theological character, from its being a violation of the order of grace which establishes between God and His creatures relations essentially higher than any natural relations. In the order of grace, God reveals Himself to man as his supernatural end, and offers him supernatural means for arriving at his supernatural destination. The sinful action which destroys these relations is therefore far more wicked than a sin against the natural order; it is no longer the disobedience of a servant, but the revolt of a son against his Father, the infidelity of the bride to the Bridegroom, an insult to the Holy Ghost, Who is the bond of union between the Creator and His sanctified creature, an attack upon the sanctity of the soul. This special theological character exists subjectively only when the sinner knows his supernatural vocation, as in the case of the fallen angels, of our first parents, and of Christians generally. Sins committed before Baptism are free from this particular malice, unless sanctifying grace has been infused by God in one of the two ways which supply temporarily the actual administration of the sacrament. See St. Thomas, i qq. 48, 49; 1æ 2æ, q. 71.
Sect. --156. Mortal Sin and Venial Sin.
I. Some sins cause the loss of eternal life, and so entail mortal and eternal punishment: they are immediately followed by the loss of grace and by positive disgrace, and thus cause the spiritual death of the soul. Others do not entail these consequences; they can coexist with grace and with the supernatural life of holiness and justice, of which grace is the principle. The former are called mortal, because they deprive the soul of supernatural life; the latter are called venial, because of their comparatively trivial character, and because they are more easily pardoned.
The existence of mortal sins is manifest from the dogma of eternal punishment. The existence of venial sins was defined in the Second Council of Milevis, can. 8, 9, and again in the Council of Trent (Sess. vi., chap. II, and can. 23, 25). These definitions are founded upon I John i. 8, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves;" and James iii. 2, "In many things we all offend," which texts are certainly to be applied to the just. The text Prov. xxiv. 16 ("A just man shall fall seven times, and shall rise again"), so often quoted in support of this doctrine, does not refer to falls into sin, but into temporal misfortunes, as St. Augustine has noted. See the classical text I Cor. iii. 8, sqq., with the commentary of St. Thomas, 1a 2æ, q. 89, a. 2.
II. The difference between mortal and venial sin is not merely accidental or external, but affects their very essence, and determines the great difference in their punishment. Speaking generally, it consists in this: mortal sin is a fully voluntary transgression of a Divine command gravely binding; whereas, if the act is not fully voluntary, or if the command only lightly binds, the sin is venial. A command is said to be gravely binding (that is, binding under heavy penalties) when its transgression carries with it the loss of Divine friendship and of the delinquent's claim on eternal life. This is the case when the object of the command is the attainment of an important end or the securing of an important good, which, by the Will of God, must be attained or secured as necessary means of salvation. A commandment is said to be lightly binding when it binds indeed, but not in so stringent a manner. The difference between heavy and light obligations, although apparently only one of degree, is, in fact, an essential difference. The opposition against the Divine Will manifested in the breaking of a grave obligation shows in the sinner a malice of disposition essentially different from that shown by disobedience in light matters. In mortal sin, the opposition to God is formal disrespect, and contempt of His Sovereignty and Supreme Goodness; whereas in venial sin the opposition to God amounts merely to neglect, the Divine attributes being not so much despised as insufficiently acknowledged. In mortal sin the creature turns away from God as its last end, and seeks felicity in another end; whereas in venial sin the creature only loses sight of God, the last end; it walks outside the road, but not in an opposite direction. In other words: in mortal sin, the sinner prefers himself or some creature to God, because, for the love of a creature, he despises the Majesty of the Divine Lawgiver, and sacrifices the felicity of possessing God; he acts as if he, and not God, were the Highest Good. In venial sin the sinner does not prefer himself or any created good to God; he has no wish entirely to despise the rights of God as Lawgiver and as Highest Good of the creature; his disposition is such that, if God prohibited the disorderly action under grave penalties, he would not commit it Holy Scripture always represents sins of the first class as hostility between man and God; whereas venial sin is never so described.
Again, just as all sins have in common that they are opposed to the great Law of Charity, so also the two classes of sins draw their essential difference from their different decree of opposition to the same law, Mortal sin turns the heart of the sinner away from God towards the creature; venial sin coexists with the love of God, but falls short of the perfect compliance with it. Since grave sin and charity are incompatible metaphysically, as soon as sin enters the soul, charity and its principle, grace, must quit it; the supernatural beauty of the soul is extinguished by "mortal" sin, and the creature cannot of himself recall the spiritual life thus lost. St. Thomas, 1a, 2ae, q. 72, a. 5; qq. 88, 89.
Sect. 157. --The Effects of Sin on the Sinner.
I. The first effect of sin on the soul is to inflict upon it a stain, in the same manner as contact with unclean things defiles the body. Another effect is to make the sinner guilty and liable to punishment (reatus culpae et paenae). These effects are inseparable. Holy Scripture describes them as unrighteousness or injustice. They entail, as a consequence, that the sinner becomes, in the eyes of God, an object of displeasure and disgust; an object of hatred, at least in the sense of being unworthy of God's continued benevolence; an object of anger, which Divine justice must visit with punishment
The stain and guilt of sin, with the concomitant Divine displeasure, hatred, and anger, may fitly be considered as the first punishment of sin, for they are incurred against the will of the sinner, and make themselves felt as uneasiness, shame, and remorse. "Thou hast decreed it, and so it comes to pass, that every disordered soul shall be to itself its own punishment.1 (St. Aug., Confess. i. 12). They belong to mortal sin in their entirety; venial sin produces them only in a very partial sense.
1 Jussisti, Domine, et sic est, ut omnis iniquus animus sibi ipsi sit poena.
II. Sin leaves behind it certain real and permanent effects which are commonly designated as "an impairing of natural goodness" (diminutio, corruptio, vitiation, boni naturae). Sin cannot destroy either the substance or the faculties of the soul in themselves; its baneful influence only affects the perfection of their exercise and their supernatural endowment. An effect common to mortal and venial sin, in the natural and supernatural order, is the production of an inclination of the will towards evil. The frequent repetition of sinful acts bends the will in a wrong direction, and hampers it in avoiding evil and doing good. From the will the difficulty extends to the intellect, inclining it to judge falsely of things moral; and in man it even affects the sensitive appetites. The perversity thus engendered may render the difficulty of doing good insuperable, and may, for all practical purposes, extinguish free will. Such blinding or hardening (Isa. vi. 9; Acts xxviii. 26; Rom. xi. 8; Matt. xiii. 14, etc.) is seldom, if ever, absolute in man; usually it extends only to certain kinds of actions, and even as to these, the freedom of the will is not radically extinct. Considered in relation to grace, which is the normal life of the soul, the incapacity for good becomes an inaptitude for receiving the effective operation of grace, or a diminution of the natural receptivity for the action of grace, together with a difficulty in cooperating with it.
III. In the supernatural order, mortal sin causes the loss of all the supernatural goodness of the soul, and extinguishes its supernatural life (§ 156). The withdrawal of supernatural grace is a punishment inflicted by God on the sinner; it is also a direct and logical consequence of sin itself. Sin unfits the soul for the indwelling of grace, just as disorganization unfits the body for the indwelling of the soul. The exclusion of grace is due to, and coextensive with, its formal opposition to sin --grace being love, and sin contempt, of God. Hence all mortal sins cause the immediate loss of charity and of sanctifying grace (gratia gratum faciens), whereas faith and hope are only excluded by the sins directly opposed to them. Yet every mortal sin deserves the loss of all supernatural virtues and of all gifts of grace, because the sinner renders himself unworthy of Divine favours, and because all such favours are connected with sanctifying grace. If sins be not cancelled, this punishment is sure to follow in time --at least at the day of judgment. It need not follow immediately; wherefore, if it pleases God to allow the sinner still to tend towards his supernatural end, He does not withdraw the necessary graces except when the sinner makes himself not only unworthy but also unfit for them.
IV. Theologians generally hold that venial sin does not diminish sanctifying grace or infused virtues. These gifts participate in the incorruptibility of spiritual substances; they are not imperishable, yet they are beyond the reach of corrupting created action. Unlike acquired virtues, they are incapable of decrease or increase by the exertions of the subject. Hence venial sin could only cause their loss by completely destroying them; but from its nature venial sin is compatible with grace. Nor can it be said that each venial sin is punished by the withdrawal of a certain degree of grace; because this would entail the loss of a corresponding degree of eternal glory, and so inflict eternal punishment for an offence whose commensurate punishment is merely the keeping back of certain special favours and the postponement of the final reward. Venial sin only impairs the natural disposition for good, while mortal sin destroys the temple of the Holy Ghost (i Cor. vi. 19), and changes man from spiritual into animal (i Cor. ii. 14); it infects the whole nature, and thus becomes the cause of new sins or of acts deficient in goodness. The absence of sanctifying grace makes further meritorious acts impossible, and weakens the sinner for future temptations.
V. The moral effects of an act are those which the act causes another person to produce; hence the moral effects of a sinful act are the pains and penalties which it causes God to inflict upon the sinner. The object of these penalties is manifold. The chief object is to avenge the injury done to God's dignity and holiness by afflicting the sinner with evils affecting his own dignity and well-being. Other penalties aim at the atonement or satisfaction for the sins committed, and others again are purely medicinal. The Schoolmen call these several penalties, poena vindicativa, satisfactoria, medicinalis.
1. Each sin, without exception, has affixed to it a proportionate penalty; or, in other words, each sin makes its author liable to commensurate punishment. The liability lasts as long as the sin.
2. Only sin properly so called can deserve punishment; or, at least, the liability to punishment varies exactly in the same degree as the guilt of sin. Hence one person can only be punished for the sins of another if, and in as far as, he participates in the other person's guilt.
3. To the penalties of sin belong first the stain and guilt of sin and the liability to punishment (reatus culpae et poenae) contracted by the sinner. The punishment itself consists in the withdrawal or keeping back of gifts which, but for his sin, were destined to the sinner. Thus, in mortal sin, sanctifying grace and eternal life are lost; in venial sin the grant of the final reward is delayed for a time, and the superabundant communication of actual graces is reduced to those necessary for the increase of merit and the avoidance of sin. Other penalties are the withdrawal of temporal goods and the infliction of temporal evils, intended to punish the selfishness and pride which lie at the bottom of every sin.
4. The penalty attaching to mortal sin is infinite inasmuch as it deprives the sinner of an infinite good; the beatific vision of God for all eternity. This penalty is exactly commensurate to the greatness of the sin, which consists in the contempt of that same infinite and eternal good, and deprives the sinner of the power to make good his less. See St. Bonaventure, In II. Sent. Dist. 35; St. Thomas, Ia 2ae, qq. 85, 87.
Sect. 158--Habitual Sin; its Irreparability and Perpetuity.
I. The stain and guilt of sin and the sinner's liability to punishment remain after the sinful act itself has ended, and constitute "the state of sin," or "habitual sin." It is most important to have an exact conception of habitual sin, because of its bearing on the doctrine of justification. We should note that habitual sin is not here used in the sense of sin into which one habitually falls.
1. Habitual sin, being a real sin, must contain the elements of guilt and imputability, and as these can only be conceived in connection with a free act of the will, habitual sin implies, necessarily, a relation to the free act by which sin was first committed. This act influences the sinful state in the same manner as the seed influences the whole growth of the plant. The derangement caused by sin in the sinner himself and in the permanent order by God established, is an evil which the sinner is bound not only to prevent, but also to repair when committed. It is this very obligation "to remove the disorder of sin" which connects the free sinful act with the subsequent state of habitual sin; as long as the sinner does not comply with the obligation, and is not otherwise dispensed from it, he must be considered as still freely adhering to his sin. Thus, from a passing act, results a permanent guilt. The connection cannot be severed by retractation of the former will, because such retractation, by itself, cannot destroy the effects of sin. Nor is the permanence of guilt prevented by the fact that the sinner is unable, at least to a certain extent, to comply with the obligation of removing the evil; for the guilt of habitual sin depends not on the present, but on the past use of free will, and the inability in question is itself an effect of the first sinful act.
2. Habitual sin, then, in its totality, contains two elements: the disorder (stain, guilt, hatefulness) in the soul of the sinner, which is the material element; and the imputability of this disorder to the sinner by reason of the unfulfilled obligation to remove it, and this is the formal element of habitual sin.
II. 1. The habitual state of grievous or mortal sin is, from its nature, everlasting, because it can only be taken away by a special merciful interference on the part God. The injury done to God remains, even if the sinner repents of it. In the supernatural order, another cause of irreparability exists, viz. mortal sin extinguishes the principle of supernatural life, that is grace, which the sinner cannot gain back, as it is a free gift of God. Again, in this case, not even a proportionate retractation or penance is possible, because sanctifying grace, the ordinary principle of supernatural acts, is lost, and the sinner has made himself unworthy of actual grace which could act as extraordinary principle.
2. The formal effects of habitual sin are, of course, likewise everlasting. For this reason, the punishment is also eternal, albeit another reason for the eternity of punishment is found in the intrinsic greatness of the guilt.
3. Venial sin, at least when not coexisting with mortal sin in the same subject, is from its nature only temporary; it is not the death of the soul, but a temporary disease, which can be removed by acts of charity on the part of the sinner. A time must necessarily come when the venial sinner is moved efficaciously to retract his sin, and so to obtain remission; otherwise he would never be able to enter eternal life. Where venial sin coexists with mortal sin, the subject being incapable of acts of supernatural charity, the separation of venial faults is made impossible, and its guilt remains as long as that of mortal sin, but these effects are due to the mortal sin.
III. The perpetuity of habitual sin does not necessarily imply a continuation of actual sin, or even the impossibility of a conversion of some kind. Yet, if such conversion be wanting, a continuation of actual sin is naturally to be expected, and, with it, a stronger inclination towards sin and a greater unworthiness of Divine grace, until a stage may be reached in which conversion is all but impossible, except by miracle. Such is particularly the case with "sins against the Holy Ghost," i.e. direct and formal contempt of God's truth and grace, which blind the sinner's intellect and harden his heart. See St. Thomas, 1a 2ae, q. 86, a. 2; q. 89, a. 1.
Sect. 159. -- Possibility and Permission of Sin.
I. Sin is possible to creatures only, and its possibility arises from the necessary imperfection of finite free will. This is such that the creatures do not necessarily will even their own good as pointed out by reason; much less are they under physical necessity to will the good of God as prescribed by Divine Law. A creature naturally impeccable is just as much an impossibility as a creature naturally possessing supernatural grace. By supernatural means, the possibility is, as a matter of fact, excluded from the Blessed in heaven. By the special grace, called confirmation in grace," it can be so paralyzed and subdued that its passing into acts is completely prevented. Sanctifying grace alone, however, leaves the power of sinning intact, because it merely gives to free will a higher power without disabling its natural powers.
II. The possibility of sin is attributable to God only inasmuch as He has not destroyed free will, or made good the deficiencies naturally arising from its finiteness. God is not the direct cause; He directly wills neither sin nor its possibility, but He "permits" both. Human nature is so constituted that desires are often excited in man which cannot be satisfied without sin. Yet this inclination to sin is not a direct and positive tendency like the inclination to good; we can only will evil under the false appearance of good. Hence the evil inclination does not make the Author of nature to be also the author of sin. As a matter of fact, He suppressed the evil inclination in the angels and the first man in a supernatural manner, leaving only the bare possibility of sin with fullest liberty to avoid it. The inclination now existing is a penalty of the first sin committed with absolute liberty. God cannot positively lead His creatures into sin as He leads them into good works; to do so would be against His Holiness (supra, § 89; cf. §§ 85, 116; James i. 13).
When God permits sin, this permission is an act of Divine Sovereignty, and consequently entirely different from a similar permission given by creatures. The Sovereign of the Universe is not bound to prevent every sin, because He can make every sin subservient to the general order of the Universe; yet, although not so bound, He could prevent sin if He so willed, and hence no sin happens without His permission. He may permit new sins as a punishment for previous ones, or particular sins as contributing to the realization of certain ends. And, lastly, the rebellious will of the sinner can be so turned to account as to become a means towards the wise ends of His Sovereign Master.
The creature is the first and principal cause of sin as such --for God in nowise moves the creature to sin --and by committing sin the creature turns itself away from the law of God and from the Divine influence for good. Between the sins actually committed by the "second causes assuming the right of the First Cause," there exists a most remarkable concatenation. The sins of man all originate in the sin of the first man; the sin of the first man originated in the sin of the angels, and this again in the sin of one superior angel. Wherefore, in order fully to fathom the sins of this world, it is necessary to ascend to the very beginning and to the very summit of creation. This "first cause of evil," establishing a realm against the realm of the All-good God, is at the bottom of the heathen fiction of Ahriman, the principle of Evil, and of the summum malum of the Manichaeans. See Stapleton, De Justificatione, lib. xi.; Bellarmine, De Amissione Gratiae, lib. ii.; St. Thomas, 1a 2ae, q. 79.
CHAPTER II. The Fall of the Angels.
Sect. 160. --The Sin of the Angels.
I. The teaching of the Church and of Holy Scripture eaves no possible doubt as to the existence of a great number of wicked or unclean spirits, hardened in sin and waging war against God and men, under the command of Satan or the Devil (Matt xii. 24; John xii. 31; I Cor. ii. 6-8; Eph. ii. 2, and vi. 12; I John iii. 13-14, etc.). "The great dragon was cast out, the old serpent who is called the devil and satan, who seduceth the whole world . . . the accuser (in Greek) of our brethren who accused them before God day and night " (Apoc. xii. 9, 10).
II. Although the devil and his demons are the very good? personification of sin, they were originally good angels. The devil and other demons were created by God good by nature, but they became bad through their own behaviour "; cf. John viii. 44, and Jude v. 6 (Fourth Council of Lateran, Cap. Firmiter). The fall of the angels probably happened soon after they were created; certainly before the fall of man.
III. From the fact that Holy Scripture describes Satan as the chief and representative of all wicked spirits, it may be inferred that the sin of the angels originated in one of them, and passed on to the remainder by example or inducement. If this be so, we must further admit that, before the fall, Satan was by nature and grace exalted high above all those angels who followed his example or his bidding. Hints are not wanting in Scripture as to Satan having been the highest of all angels, so that sin would have originated at the very summit of creation. Such hints are found in the picture of the pride and fall of earthly kings, which the Fathers mystically apply to the pride and fall of the prince of heaven (Isaias xiv. 12; Ezech. xxviii. 1 sq., and xxxi. 3 sq.). The temptation of pride may certainly have been very great in a creature of such perfection.
IV. The Church has never defined the kind of sin committed by the angels, and the early Fathers are not quite agreed upon the point. Yet following up the hints given in Scripture and the common doctrine of later Fathers and of all theologians, it must be held as theologically certain that pride was the cause of their fall. The contemplation of their natural excellence and their great likeness to God gave rise to presumption and ambition, which are but forms of pride. Most likely these angels wanted to be independent of God, and to receive honours due to God alone. St. Thomas (1, q. 63, a. 3) thinks they refused the tribute of absolutely unselfish love required by God in the supernatural order; Suarez (De Angelis, lib. vii.) is of opinion that they refused to acknowledge and to adore the Son of God in His human nature. Cf. Ecclus. x. 15; Tobias iv. 14; Luke x. 18, and the above-quoted texts from Isaias and Ezechias with the interpretation of the Fathers.
V. From the nature of things, as well as from the teaching of the Fathers, the sin of the fallen angels is manifestly sin in its worst form. It proceeded from pure malice; not, as in the case of man, from ignorance and weakness. It is a direct insult to God and an open contempt of the order of grace, and hence it has the character of sin against the Holy Ghost. It is an open rebellion against God, carried out, and unrelentingly persisted in with all the energy of which a pure spirit is capable. It is, lastly, an uninterrupted sin, a perpetual act, thanks to the spiritual and ever vigilant nature of the angels. For all these reasons, the pride of the angels was a sin unto death --far more than mortal sin in man, more even than final impenitence in man.
VI. The great sin of the angels was immediately punished with eternal damnation. God granted them neither the time nor the means of repentance. Holy Writ and the formulated teaching of the Church do not directly express this doctrine; they only state the fact that at present the fallen angels are in a state of damnation, and without hope of salvation. But from 2 Pet. ii. 4, and Jude 6, we understand that all the angels who prevaricated were damned; and, on the other hand, the redemption by Christ is available to man only; whence theologians rightly conclude that no hope of salvation was ever held out to these spirits, and, consequently, no time for repentance allowed them. The reason why God showed to the angels none of that mercy which He so abundantly dispenses to man must be sought in the grievous nature of their sin.
VII. The sin of the angels was immediately followed by the complete depravation and corruption of their spiritual life. The demons' depravity consists in the obscuration of their intellect and the hardening of their will, so that mendacity and wickedness become their second nature; they are powers of darkness and spirits of wickedness." Their intellect is darkened by the withdrawal of all supernatural light as principle of supernatural knowledge, albeit they retain the bare knowledge of the truths revealed to them before their fall, or which they may learn by some external revelation. Then the perversity of their will influences their judgment, so as to make evil appear to them as good. The hardening of the will of the evil spirits consists in this, that the hatred of God is the impelling motive of all their actions. As the good spirits do all they do for the love of God, so the evil spirits are moved in all their actions by hatred of Him. This hatred is partly the result of the original perversity of their will, partly an effect of their resenting the punishment inflicted upon them.
VIII. Together with complete depravity, the demons received at once afflictive punishment. They were cast down into the place of torments, delivered into the chains of hell, to be reserved unto judgment (2 Pet. ii. 4). The nature of this punishment will be discussed in the treatise on the Last Things. Here we only point out its two stages, viz. the ejection from heaven and the reservation for the general judgment at the end of the world. The difference between the two stages lies in this, that before the last judgment the external movements and operations of the demons are not completely impeded; just as the souls of damned men are not tied to their bodies until the day of judgment. Thus the demons still are free to find some satisfaction in the carrying out of their wicked plans against God and man, although even for this their punishment will be increased on the last day. Again: before the final judgment they are not confined to "the place of torments," wherever that may be, but they are at liberty to move about among men on earth, or, as Scripture says in view of their spiritual nature, in the air above the earth (cf. I Pet. v. 8; Eph. vi. 13; ii. 2). Yet, wherever they are, they suffer the same torments.
IX. Revelation teaches us that God has allowed the evil spirits to carry on against Himself and His elect a war of hatred, lasting as long as the present state of the world. As God Himself and the Blessed in heaven are unassailable, man is the only object on which the demons may wreak their vengeance, by destroying in him the image and likeness of God. This war has been permitted by God in order that man may prove his fidelity to his Maker, and that the devil, overcome by weaker creatures, may be covered with greater shame. The victory of man is rendered possible and easy since he is incorporated in the mystical body of God-made-Man.
The first man was able to sin without the instigation of the devil; yet, as a matter of fact, it was to the seduction of the enemy that he gave way. Hence the sin of man is the "seed of the devil" sown in lies, and sinful men are "the sons of the devil, who is the father of lies." With the devil as their head, all sinners constitute one moral body. The power he has over them is chiefly due to their wilful submission to his influence. On man, in the original state, the devil had but very limited power; he could only tempt man, and even that temptation was limited to external suggestions. See Suarez, De Angelis, 11. vii., viii.; St. Thomas, i. qq. 63, 64; Contra Gentes, iii. 107-109.
CHAPTER III. The Fall of Man
Sect. 161. --The Sin of Adam and Eve.
I. The tempter, called serpent in the history of the fall (Gen. iii.), was not that reptile itself, but the devil speaking through its mouth, although the narrative does not expressly say so. The devil is so often spoken of as the tempter of our first parents, that it might almost be doubted whether the serpent was not an assumed form, rather than the real animal (Wisd. ii. 24; John viii. 44).
II. The temptation was directed to Eve as the weaker party, and against the law of probation, as the most momentous. The tempter begins with a question of double meaning: Is there such a commandment, and why should it be given? (Gen. iii. i), and goes on denying the punishment threatened by God, and promising likeness to gods as a reward for the evil deed. Almost every word of the devil's speech is ambiguous, admitting of a true and of a false interpretation, a circumstance entirely in keeping with the character of the tempter. From Gen. iii. 6, some superficial minds have inferred that Eve was seduced by the goodness and beauty of the fruit, forgetting that, before the fall, she had perfect control over all the motions of her senses. No more did she believe in the serpent's words: such blindness was incompatible with the state of original perfection. Fathers and Theologians commonly teach that Eve was misled by pride, according to Ecclus. x. 15: "Pride is the beginning of all sin" (also Tobias iv. 14). Movements of pride and vainglory could be excited without a formal belief in the serpent's words; on the contrary, such belief could only spring from a heart infected with pride. Eve, then, moved by pride, saw "that the tree was good to eat," and, flattering herself that she would not die, but be made like unto God, "took of the fruit and did eat," thus committing a formal disobedience to the Divine command.
III. The sin of Adam also had its root in pride, as we may safely infer from the above-quoted texts, and still more from the ironical words of God, '* Behold, Adam is become like one of us, knowing good and evil " (Gen. iii. 22). Adam's connivance with Eve was but an effect of his sympathy with her own pride. The terms of the Divine judgment seem to indicate that Adam believed the suggestions of Eve, and thus sinned through disbelief of God's word. Yet, if this be admitted, the reason of his disbelief cannot be laid to the utterances of the serpent, but may be attributed to the fact that Eve had not died after eating the forbidden fruit. "Adam was not seduced; but the woman, being seduced, was in the transgression" (1 Tim. ii. 14; cf. 2 Cor. xi. 3).
IV. Objectively, the sin of our first parents was formal disobedience to God and to the law of probation. The sins of pride, curiosity, sensuality, disbelief, and diffidence were subjective factors, all subordinate to that disobedience in which they terminated, and helping to make it a most grievous sin, notwithstanding the apparent slightness of its subject-matter. Other aggravating circumstances were the great facility of avoiding it, as in Adam there was neither ignorance nor concupiscence; the black ingratitude it implies, and the terrible consequences it was to have upon the whole of mankind.
Albeit, the sin of man, like that of the angels, was a formal aversion from God; it was, nevertheless, not so decisive and obstinate. Immediately after the sin, a salutary sense of shame and fear came over its authors, and God mitigated His sentence of condemnation. The serpent alone was condemned without mercy; Adam and Eve, according to Scripture and tradition, made good use of the time allotted them for penance, and are both saved (cf. Wisd. x. i sqq.).
V. The first sin was fraught with peculiar consequences by reason of the singularly privileged state of its authors. The Second Council of Orange, can. I, and the Council of Trent have defined these consequences. "The first man Adam, having transgressed the mandate of God in Paradise, at once lost the sanctity and justice in which he had been constituted; and incurred, through the offence of his prevarication, the anger and indignation of God, and, therefore, the death with which God had previously threatened him, and together with death, captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is of the devil; Adam, through the offence of that prevarication, underwent a complete change for the worse in body and soul " (Council of Trent, sess. v. cam. i). In a word: Adam lost all his absolute and relative supernatural endowments. He became subject to the power of the devil, inasmuch as, having been overcome and despoiled of his strength and of his claim on heaven, he was henceforth at the mercy of his conqueror.
Although the complete deterioration of man was brought about by the loss of supernatural endowments, it must not be conceived as a merely external change, such e.g. as would arise from the loss of a garment. The loss of sanctifying grace and of all the privileges of original integrity affects the inmost powers of the soul, intellect, and will, and the command of the soul over the body, and leaves man in a state of languor and disease. Not only is man disabled for salutary works; his higher aims are taken away from him, and his natural inclination for selfish pleasures is allowed free play.
VI. The corruption consequent upon Adam's sin had a twofold bearing, viz. upon his person arid upon his the person, nature. His personal deterioration immediately affected only his will; it was caused by the will, and its permanence was more or less dependent upon the disposition of the will. The corruption of his nature, on the contrary, affected all the faculties rooted in the substance of the soul, and the will itself, in as far as the will is part of human nature. Again, the personal corruption attacks the mind (or soul) only in itself, whereas the corruption of nature attacks the mind in its relations to the body, and leaves no part of the whole compound unharmed. It appears, however, most strikingly in the insubordination of the generative appetite, which is the means of its transmission to all mankind.
VII. Holy Scripture applies the significant name "reign of death" to nature corrupted by sin (Rom. v. 14). The supernatural life and glory of "the image of God" being lost through the envy of the devil, human nature remained naked, disfigured, and disabled; the soul was spiritually dead, and the body doomed to death. In that state, the soul, like a corpse, was prone to further corruption, and liable to become every day more unfit for the reception of new life.
VIII. We need not insist upon the penal character of the corruption of nature, which is self-evident; but it is important to fix its guiltiness. Original justice, with all its privileges, was not a gift without a concomitant obligation. Man was not at liberty to accept or to refuse it, or, having accepted it, to cast it off at his own pleasure. It was a gift entrusted to the keeping of man, and man's perfection in the eyes of God was made dependent upon its possession. Hence, when by his own free will Adam cast off the trust held under such obligation, that is when he despoiled himself of his supernatural glory, he was answerable for, and guilty of, the consequent deterioration of his nature.
A difficulty here presents itself: "Culpability results from a personal act; but the withdrawal of the supernatural gifts was not a personal act of Adam, hence their loss cannot be imputed to him." As regards the loss of sanctity, the answer has been given already, viz. mortal sin makes the soul unfit for sanctifying grace, so that the author of mortal sin excludes and expels grace from his soul by his own act. As regards the loss of integrity another explanation is required. St. Thomas and his disciples say that sanctity and integrity formed one solidary whole, wherefore Adam, by willingly excluding sanctity, also willingly expelled integrity. The early Franciscan school views this matter in another light: the possession of both sanctity and integrity depended upon the keeping of the Divine mandate; wherefore Adam, by transgressing this, voluntarily forfeited both. These two views do not exclude one another. The Thomistic conception accounts better for the loss of justice as a personal fault of Adam; the other shows better why the fault and guilt of Adam can be inherited by his posterity. See for this and the following sections, St Thomas, 1a 2ae, qq. 81-83; Stapleton, De Justif., 11. i.-iii.; Bellarmine, De Amiss. Gratiae, 11. iv-vi.
Sect. 162. --Original Sin.
I. The transmission of the sin of Adam and its deteriorating effects on all mankind is a fundamental dogma, because on it is founded the necessity of redemption for all men. The early Church defended and defined it against the Pelagians (Council of Orange, ii. can. 2); the Council of Trent formulated it anew and made it the basis of its doctrine of Justification. The words of the definition are: "If any one assert that the prevarication of Adam was hurtful to himself only, and not to his progeny; and that he lost for himself only, and not also for us, the sanctity and justice received from God; or that, being himself defiled by the sin of disobedience, he transmitted to all mankind only death and the sufferings (poenas) of the body, but not the sin which is the death of the soul, let him be anathema, for he contradicts the apostle who says, "Through one man sin entered the world," etc. (Sess. v. can. 2).
II. That the loss of original integrity, the deterioration of nature and the evils connected therewith, passed from Adam to his progeny is distinctly revealed in Scripture. Death and suffering entered the world as a punishment of the first sin (Gen. iii. 16-20); concupiscence, in its present form, has the same origin (Gen. iii. 7). The state of unredeemed man is often represented in Holy Writ as one of spiritual death, necessitating a new birth in holiness and justice (John iii. 5, etc.). No reason for such degradation can be given other than the transmission of the first sin to the whole progeny of the first sinner. The classical text is Rom. v. 12, of which later.
III. All individual members of the human race are descended from Adam; his nature contained the seed and the root from which mankind grows. But Adam vitiated his nature in all its constituent parts, down to the parts specially intended for its propagation; hence the fruit of propagation can but be a vitiated human nature. The standard of Divine Likeness which God had set up for all men was lowered by the first sin; the progeny of Adam are born less like God than God originally willed them to be. Yet the "personal" sin of our first parents could not be propagated, because it would involve personal acts which cannot be transmitted by generation. But for the element of sinfulness which stains the souls of Adam's progeny, we might compare his fall and its universal consequences to a spiritual bankruptcy, involving the impoverishment in things spiritual of all mankind. As, however, that spiritual poverty is described in Scripture and Tradition as sin and injustice, and as a punishment for sin, which it would not be if merely the consequence of spiritual bankruptcy, another element must be introduced, viz. the progeny's "share" in the progenitor's guilt.
St. Paul teaches this doctrine in the famous text, Rom. v. 12-19. For the sake of clearness, we quote the Apostle's words in their logical order. His proposition is, "As by one man (Greek) sin entered into this world, and by sin (Greek) death (v. 12); ...as by the offence of one (the judgment came) unto all men to condemnation (v. 18); ...as by the disobedience of one man the many (Greek) were made sinners (v. 19), even so by the justice of one (in Greek) (the free gift came) unto all men to justification of life (v. 18); even so, by the obedience of one, shall the many be made just" (v. 19). In the latter part of v. 12, and vv. 13, 14, the extension of Adam's sin to all men is proved from the universality of the reign of death: "Death passed upon all men in whom (Greek) all have sinned: for until the law, sin was in the world; but sin was not imputed when the law was not. But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them who have not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of Him who was to come." In other words: The pain of death was not first inflicted for sin by the law of Moses; before Moses men died, although not in punishment of their "personal" sins, for, there being no law, personal sins were not imputed; and even they died who had not committed personal sin like Adam, whence to them death was the pain for their participation in the first sin. In vv. 15-17, the Apostle shows that Christ had greater power for good than Adam for evil; and then, in v. 18, he continues the comparison begun in v. 12, and concludes it in v. 19.
IV. The universal deterioration of human nature in its material aspect may be sufficiently accounted for by considering the sin of Adam only as a personal act of the physical author of our nature. Not so its formal depravity, viz. the guilt which makes the progeny of Adam sinful and liable to punishment. Guilt supposes a voluntary act of the guilty person. And, in fact, St. Paul says, "that all have sinned in the first man," and all are guilty of disobedience. This means that the one act of disobedience of the first man is morally not only his own personal act, but a solidary act of all mankind, for which all are answerable. The dogmatic bearing of the words, Rom. v. 12 (Greek, in quo omnes peccaverunt), is quite independent of the meaning attached to (Greek). Whether it be translated "seeing that," "for that," "inasmuch as," "because," all have sinned, or "in whom" all have sinned, the context and the parallelism between Christ and Adam, evidently give the sense that all men participated in the sin of disobedience committed by the first parent (cf. I Cor. xv. 21, 22). Technically speaking, Adam acted as the juridical and moral representative of mankind, or as head of the whole human race existing in him in germ, and he transgressed a law binding mankind as a whole. His sin, therefore, was the sin of all mankind, because and in as far as the actions and the will of the head are the actions and the will of the whole body. The physical existence of the whole race in its head affords a basis for its moral existence in the same, that is, for its' being made answerable for the sins of the head. We have then to consider but one will and one act, the will and the act of Adam, which, by a positive disposition of God, were made at the same time will and act of the whole human race.
V. From this point of view it is easy to determine how far the sin of Adam was universal, that is, the sin of all mankind. The transgression was the act of the whole race precisely and only in as far as it was a culpable violation of the duty to fulfil the condition set by God for the maintenance of supernatural justice, and thus represented a wanton destruction of that justice. The personal motives of pride and the other motives which induced Adam to break the covenant, are not imputed to his descendants, but only the objective breach of the Law of Probation, upon which the covenant rested. Thus, when a king transgresses the clauses of a treaty made with another king, it is not his personal motives, but the objective breach of the treaty which is imputed to the nation whose head he is, and the whole nation is made to bear the consequences of the broken treaty.
VI. The universal or original sin has some characters peculiar to itself, which we shall here merely indicate. 1. It is the only sin which passes from the perpetrator to his progeny, because no other sin is or can be committed under the same circumstances. 2. It is of faith (Rom. v. 13, and 1 Cor. xv. 21) that the sin of Adam only, not also that of Eve, was a universal act. Adam, not Eve, represented mankind. If Eve alone had sinned, the sin would not have been transmitted. 3. No other sin of Adam would have had the same universal bearing, because the covenant or bond of God with man was founded on the observance of one clearly determined precept.
VII. Adam's repentance was of no avail to his progeny. A special Divine grace was required to make it salutary even to himself. By God's ordination Adam was empowered to act for all mankind to the effect of preserving supernatural justice; but he did not enter into the Divine ordination for repairing its loss. Although he obtained his personal pardon, still "the sin of mankind" and its effects were not affected thereby.
Sect. 163. --The Sin of Adam in his Descendants.
I. An adequate, positive definition of original sin has not been given by the Church. The definitions, however, concerning the existence of original sin, and the necessity and efficacy of Baptism, give the theologian sufficient elements for determining the real nature of original sin in fallen man. We quote the Council of Trent (sess. v. can. 5): "If any one deny that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which is given in baptism, the guilt (reatus) of original sin is remitted; or if he assert that not all that is taken away which has the true and proper nature (rationem) of sin, but that it is only erased or not imputed, let him be anathema. For in the regenerated there is nothing hateful to God: . . . That, however, in the baptized there remains concupiscence or the fomes, is the sense of this Holy Synod. Concupiscence is left for our warfare (ad agonem); it cannot injure those who do not consent to it. . . . This concupiscence, which the Apostle sometimes calls sin, the Holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church never understood it to be called sin as being a true and properly so-called sin in the regenerated, but as being caused by sin and as inclining to sin. If any one holdeth the contrary, let him be anathema."
II. The many erroneous notions of the nature inherited sin arise, in general, from not giving due attention to the organic unity of its two elements, viz. the guilt contracted by the whole race in Adam, and the internal disorder of our nature which is the subject-matter of that guilt. By separating the formal from the material element, or by giving undue prominence to either of them, many notions of original sin have been formed, some quite heretical, some doubtful, some reconcilable with Catholic teaching. The space at our disposal only allows us to sketch out what appears to us the deepest, most complete, and most Catholic theory. We follow, in the main, St. Thomas (1a 2ae, q. 82).
III. The mean between the two extreme theories conceives original sin so that its subject-matter is the internal disorder arising in the soul from the privation of due sanctity and justice, and its formal element the guilt or culpability contracted by man in Adam, for which man is still held responsible. Thus we can define original sin as "the culpable privation of original justice." This definition distinguishes it from every other habitual sin, and points out, in its subject-matter, that element which accounts for all internal disorders consequent upon it. All theologians are bound to admit, with the Church, that the loss of sanctifying grace, or the death of the soul, is a constituent element of original sin; yet, as this loss of grace is an effect common to all mortal sins, it cannot be the " specific " subject-matter of original sin; something more must be added in order to distinguish this sin from all other sins. At this point theologians cease to agree. They shape their opinions in accordance with their notions of original justice.
IV. The Thomistic theory starts from the patristic view that sanctifying grace is the essential element of original (or hereditary) justice, and the root of the integrity of natural, as well as of supernatural, life. Hence (1) the radical element of injustice in original sin is to be sought in the essence of the soul, viz. in the culpable privation of sanctifying grace as root of the whole justice required of man by God. (2) In the second place, and effectively (with regard to its effects), the element of injustice appears in all the faculties of the soul bearing upon morality, as privation of the order willed and originally instituted by God. Hence original injustice, as opposed to original justice, comprises the absence of sanctity from the superior will, the want of subordination of the inferior will and sensuality to the superior will or reason. These, again, entail in the superior will an absolute impossibility to serve God supernaturally; a moral impossibility of observing even natural law in its entirety and permanently, and lastly another absolute impossibility of preventing all unholy God-displeasing motions. (3) Comparing original with actual sin, we find the "aversion from God" in the want of sanctity, especially of charity, and the " conversion to the creature " in the motions of concupiscence caused by the loss of original integrity. There is, however, a difference: in original sin the aversion from God is not, as in actual sin, essentially connected with the conversion to the creature. (4) Lastly, compared to a fully formed and developed actual sin in man, original sin consists in a tendency to inordinate motions, extending from the highest faculties of the soul to the organism of the body; all such motions participating in the character of formal sin as being the consequence of a culpable disorder in the innermost part of nature.
V. Original sin is exactly the same in all men, though the effects arising out of it, especially the infirmity of reason and the fervour of concupiscence, vary greatly in different individuals on account of the diversity of individual organization. Original sin in Adam's posterity essentially differs from Adam's own sin, because it does not include the same personal responsibility for an actual offence and contempt of God. Hence its peculiar position midway between mortal and venial sin. As it includes no personal act of free will it is, subjectively, the least of all sins, smaller even than semi-voluntary venial sins; but, objectively, or as regards its subject-matter, and .especially the evils caused by it, it is a greater sin than most mortal sins. Again, original sin is free from that continued contempt or neglect of God which keeps the guilt of actual sin alive in the soul, and therefore, in this respect also, it is less than the least personal venial sin. These differences are summed up in the formula: "Original sin does not, like personal sins, imply an aversion from God as man's natural end, but only an aversion from God as man's supernatural end."
VI. As all the indivjdual members of the human race descend from Adam by way of generation, it is also by way of generation that they contract original sin. Christ, not being "born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man" (John i. 12), even had He not been the Son of God, would not have been stained by original sin. The act of generation, however, is only instrumental in propagating sin. The principal cause is "the originating sin of Adam." The act of generation prepares and determines the subject upon which the sin of nature exercises its deteriorating influence, and its connection with the transmission of original sin extends no farther. The personal sanctity of the parent does not prevent his offspring from contracting the stain of sin: for it is nature as corrupted in Adam that he propagates, and not his own nature as modified by his personal acts. The dispensation under which personal justice was hereditary came to an end in Adam himself; in the present dispensation, Christ alone possesses grace and the power of communicating it.
VII. Many Theologians explain the transmission of original sin by generation without taking into account the present inner condition of the parent. They establish between parent and offspring a merely moral and juridical relation, so that the progeny contracts certain obligations and liabilities of the progenitor by the fact of being born of him; in their system the transmission bears no inner analogy to the natural transmission of physical evils. St. Augustine, however, and the earlier Schoolmen, constantly make use of physical analogies to explain the propagation of original sin, and expressly describe it as caused by an imperfection (vitium) in the act of generation and in the progenitor, viz. the "ardour of concupiscence." The explanation given by the best Schoolmen may be summarized as follows: the progenitor, according to the original Divine dispensation, ought to possess the power of generating a nature endowed with sanctity and justice. The absence of this power constitutes an imperfection of, or vitiates, the generative principles. Further, in the original state, the power to generate, in co-operation with the Holy Ghost, a perfect child of God, was specially bound up with the integrity of human nature; the perfect subjection of the members to the mind gave to the generative organism a purity fitting it for the co-operation of the Holy Ghost. Hence, e converso, the incapacity of generating a perfect child of God is likewise bound up with the loss of integrity, and more especially with the insubordination of the generative appetite, the Holy Ghost not having, since the Fall, co-operated with the generative act to the extent of remitting original sin in the offspring. Thus the imperfection (vitium) of the power and act of generation is not accidental or external, but internal, and in a certain sense natural; and it can be said with truth that "the concupiscence of the progenitor causes the progeny to be deprived of sanctity and justice." The concupiscence in question is habitual concupiscence, of which the actual disorders accompanying the act of generation are but a sign. And habitual concupiscence itself produces original sin as a "deficient," rather than as an "efficient" cause, much in the same way as free will causes sin, through the "deficiency" of its intention.
VIII. To complete the theory on the propagation of original sin by generation, we must show how the soul, though directly created by God, becomes infected with sin. St. Augustine hesitates between two explanations: either, he says, both body and soul are produced in a vitiated condition by the progenitor, or the soul is vitiated by its conjunction with a vitiated body (Contra Jul., 1. v. c. iv.). Since Creationism (cf.§ 129) is now generally held, the first of these alternatives must be rejected. The second, if rightly understood, explains the difficulty in a way which is neither too grossly physical nor too superficially moral. The body inflicts no physical damage on the soul, but merely entangles it in the guiltiness of the seed of Adam. The flesh, disordered by the loss of original justice, being the recipient of the soul, the soul is received in a disordered manner, and becomes guilty by implication or infection. The corruption or aggravation of the soul by the body, on which St. Augustine and others so often insist, must be reduced to signify "that the union of body and soul into one nature makes the quality of the soul dependent on the quality of the body." As shown in Book III., § 133, the soul, without a counteracting Divine influence, is subject to be impeded in its spiritual operations by the influence of the animal life of the body. But that Divine influence is now excluded from the beginning, because, as explained above, in the act of generation the Holy Ghost does not co-operate to the remission of original sin. Hence the soul, through its conjunction with the body, is deprived of a perfection, viz. the free development of its spiritual energy, which it would enjoy if it existed separately, or in the state of original integrity; in other words, it is "corrupted and weighed down" by the body. Let us here point out the different progress of corruption in Adam and in his posterity. In Adam the person corrupted the nature; first he lost sanctifying grace; then this loss entailed the loss of integrity, and infected his whole nature. In his descendants, on the contrary, nature infects the person; the corruption begins with the act of generation, reaches the privileges of integrity, and ends in depriving the soul of sanctifying grace.
Another and more direct solution of the same difficulty may be based upon "the relation of principle between the soul of the progenitor and the soul of the progeny" (Book III., § 129, III.), which consists in this, that the father determines the production of the son as an image of himself in an organism derived from his own. This metaphysical relation of soul to soul is the foundation of all juridical and moral relations between father and son; and as a relation of soul to soul, it is particularly well adapted to serve as a foundation for the transmission of supernatural life, or of the nobility of adoptive sonship. Having forfeited his nobility, Adam could procreate only an ignoble image of himself a child deprived of sanctifying grace and integrity, and the prey of concupiscence. The Council of Trent seems to hint at this notion when it makes the loss of sanctity the fundamental element of the loss of due justice not only in Adam, but also in his progeny (Sess. v. can. 2).
IX. The Pelagians used to urge that either God or the parents, or both, commit a sin if they give existence to a sinful soul. But the creative act of God, and the procreative act of the parents, directly intend the production of a new person, which is a good object, although the new being is accidentally subject to sin. Generation would be unlawful, indeed, if sin consisted in an inclination to evil, or if the inclination was irresistible; but such is not the case, especially since God has provided sufficient means of resistance.
Sect. 164.--Penalties of Original Sin.
I. Penalties are measured out according to the degree of imputability, and to the gravity of subject-matter of sin. Original sin being a real, sin, deserves punishment; its peculiar character, however, requires a peculiar punishment, different from that meted out to actual sin.
II. I. Original sin deserves the loss of the beatific vision, that is, of the inheritance of the sons of God or the happiness of eternal life. On this proposition rests the whole doctrine concerning original sin. Scripture and Tradition always connect the remission of sin, and the acquisition of eternal life, as the joint object of the redemption by Christ.
2. It is neither of faith, nor even probable that, over and above the eternal pain of loss, original sin is punished with eternal pain of the senses, viz. the fire of hell. This proposition results from the almost unanimous consent of the Schoolmen, notably since Innocent III formulated the axiom that "the pain of original sin is privation (carentia) of the vision of God; the pain of actual sin is the torment of perpetual hell" (cap. Majores de bapt.; Denzinger, Enchir., li.). It stands to reason that a sin which involves no personal contempt of God, cannot justly be visited by vindictive or reactive punishment, except such punishment be at the same time propitiatory or medicinal, two qualities incompatible with eternal punishment. The sentence passed by Christ (Matt, xxv.) on the last day, which mentions no intermediate punishment between heaven and hell, applies only to personal sinners, nay, speaking strictly, only to those who had the opportunity of knowing Christ in His Church. We shall deal with this subject in Book VIII.
3. It is highly probable that those who die guilty of die in original sin only, are free from pain and sorrow, and even original sin. enjoy a certain inward peace and happiness, so that they attain at least a minimum of that felicity which would have been their natural end if human nature had not been elevated to a supernatural order. This proposition is not so commonly admitted as the preceding. The reasons which support it are very forcible. If, in the soul stained with original sin, no evil disposition is evolved either before or after its separation from the body, and if, after death, when there is no stage of probation, its natural tendencies towards good evolve themselves unhindered, no sorrow need arise from the loss of the beatific vision, because nature does not of its own account desire it, and as it has been lost without personal fault the loss will not be felt by a well-ordained will. Nor can any suffering be inflicted by the withholding of goods necessary to the natural peace and satisfaction of a rational creature, because this would be equal to inflicting the poena sensus. If no satisfaction was afforded to the natural tendencies of these souls, that is, if they did not in a certain sense attain their natural end, God would have created beings without any attainable end.
III. The penalties of original sin here on earth are the incapacity of performing salutary works, and the loss of all the privileges of original integrity. This incapacity for salutary works and the disordered tendencies which incline man to new sins, hold him in the bondage of sin and death.
Sect. 165. --The Power of the Devil founded upon Sin.
I. The Council of Trent points out that original sin brought man under the power of the devil; earlier decisions, to the devil, and the Fathers, find a strong argument for original sin in the "exorcisms" used in the administration of Baptism, and Holy Scripture in many places represents redemption from the captivity of the devil, and destruction of his empire as the special object of Christ's Redemption (cf. Epist. Ccelestini, cap. xii.). The chief texts bearing on this doctrine, are: "Who (God) hath delivered us from the power of darkness ( = the prince of darkness), and. hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. i. 13; see also ii. 14, 15; John xii. 31, and xiv. 30, "...that through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil," Heb. ii. 14).
II. Satan has no just right to the empire of death: he is a tyrant in title as well as in fact. His title is entirely on the side of man, who for his sin deserved to be abandoned by God (Whom he had forsaken) to the devil by whom he allowed himself to be seduced. St. Peter, in his Second Epistle (ii. 19), quotes the ancient law of war, "by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is a slave," as illustrating the relation of the sinner to Satan. St. Paul says, "Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto justice?" (Rom. vi. 16.) From this text, it is clear that man's slavery to Satan is the result of man's voluntary adhesion to his tyrant.
III. The evils which follow sin were introduced into the world by the malice of the devil, and they are, besides, part of his own punishment. Hence, Satan, by involving man in sin, made him a captive and slave in his empire --a captive, because the sinner is deprived of the power freely to move towards his perfection; a slave, because he is, to a great extent, compelled to serve the devil in his war against God, and to satisfy his hatred of God and man. Of course, the empire, or power, of Satan is not the same over all sinners alike. It attains its highest degree in the hardened sinner; is less in the sinner guilty of mortal sin, but not a hardened sinner; and least in those guilty of original sin only. The formula of exorcism in the rite of Baptism addresses the devil as dwelling in the infant after the manner of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the saints. This satanic indwelling, however, is not a substantial indwelling in the body, much less in the soul, of the child, but only a relation of dependence and influence, such as exists between men, --strengthened, maybe, by the permanent company of a wicked spirit. The very analogy with the influence of the Holy Ghost shows that the devil does not and cannot force his victim to commit sin; for as the Holy Ghost leaves to the soul its power for evil, so does the devil leave to it the power for good.
The empire of sin and death may be considered either as a continuation of the material part of sin, or as a continuation of sin itself and of its guilt. From this point of view, it is conceivable that even the justified may be exposed to a considerable extent to the influences of the devil, and may even be bodily possessed by him; in the same manner as concupiscence remains after justification, that is, as a continuation of the material part of sin. Such persecution, however, does not imply any captivity or slavery of the just under the devil, because the devil has no longer any "right" against those who belong to God and because he can only influence them after the manner of natural concupiscence; his obsession is merely a trial of the sanctity of the children of God.
IV. The devil is called by St. Paul "the god of this world" (2 Cor. iv. 4). "This world" is here taken as the world such as it became through the fall of Adam, in opposition to what it will be when the Redemption of Christ will have had its full effect. Yet these and similar expressions, and the expressions used by the Church in the blessings of so many material things, indicate that the power of Satan extends over the whole visible world, in as far as it comes into immediate contact with man, or is at man's service. This is but a consequence of the loss by Adam of his dominion over material creation. It is among the spoils which his conqueror has carried off. In direct antagonism with the life-giving influences from above, the king of death wages his war against God from below; through the visible things of this world he tempts the lower appetites of man, and strives to ascend until he reaches the root of the soul where the work of God commences.
V. Satan exercises, or manifests, his power in a two-fold manner: he tempts man to sin, and inflicts on him other evils, yet always with the object of leading him into sin. The first point is clearly laid down in Scripture: "Be sober and watch, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist ye, strong in faith" (i Pet v. 8, 9; see also Eph. vi. 11). The only open question is whether the devil is the author of "all" temptations. It is certain that the flesh and the world, viz. man's own concupiscence and inducements from without, in many cases sufficiently account for temptation, without the intervention of Satan. Still, it is very probable that Satan does not remain idle when those agencies of his are at work; nay, it seems most likely that he never, or, at most, very seldom, assails the soul except by means of "the flesh and the world." Nor is it unlikely that the "ape of God" deputes wicked spirits to counteract the part of the Guardian Angels. As to the infliction of physical evils, we have proof for its existence in the formulae of the various blessings given by the Church to material things. These formulae, however, lay especial stress on the spiritual damage to be feared from the devil, whence we infer that whatever use the wicked one makes of material evils against man, it is always with intent to damage his soul.
VI. The "god of the world" carries out his government on much the same lines as the God Whose Empire he seeks to destroy. His religion is in every particular a caricature of Divine Religion. According to I Cor. x. 18-19, idolatry was, and still is, a working of devils in which almost every human vice and degrading practice has been elevated to the rank of virtues and sacrifices. When Christianity has destroyed idolatry, the religion of Satan embodies itself in a diabolical hatred of the religion of Christ, and especially of Catholicism, without, however, even giving up attempts to set up a positive diabolical cultus. Such attempts are attested by the whole religious history of mankind, from the earliest idolaters to the modern "spiritualists." False wonders and prophecies are resorted to with the object of deterring men from God, and enlisting them in the service of the devil. The superior power and knowledge of Satan enable him to perform works above the power of man, and to predict future contingent events with a greater chance of success. Scripture and Tradition attest the fact that Satan uses his power and knowledge for his wicked purposes (see Matt. xxiv. 24, and compare 2 Thess. ii. 7-9). In imitation of God's prophets and priests, the devil has his "mediums," that is, persons chosen and accepted as channels of communication between him and the world. Antichrist will be such a medium, and the girl of Philippi "having a pythonical spirit, who brought to her masters much gain by divining," was another (Acts xvi. 1 6 sqq.). The possibility of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and the like, is evident a priori; their actual existence is dogmatically and historically certain. When, however, the practical question has to be decided whether some extraordinary performance is the work of the devil or not, the same care and precautions must be taken as in deciding whether or not an extraordinary occurrence is the work of God. Magical "art," in the sense of practices and manipulations governed by set rules, and producing constant diabolical effects, is an imitation of the Sacraments and Sacramentals of the Church. It must nevertheless be granted that the imitation is but very imperfect, for the devil can only operate with the permission of God; his power and knowledge, though great, are yet limited, and his deceitfulness prevents him from keeping his promises even to his adherents.
Thus the belief in preternatural diabolical influences is no superstition, but sound faith. Satan's most daring attempt at aping his Divine Master appears in "possession of men by the devil." It is an attempt at imitating the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and the Hypostatic Union. Demoniacal possession was most frequent during Christ's stay on earth, and for a certain time afterwards, as if Satan wished to manifest the height of his power in the face of his Antagonist. The casting out of the devils afforded also one of the most striking proofs of Christ's power. Real possession ought to be carefully distinguished from the sinner's voluntary surrender to the devil, as recorded of Judas (John xiii. 27), and likewise from "obsession," viz. from that state of siege in which the devil holds persons inaccessible to his ordinary seductions. In real possession the devil disputes man's control over his body, and, for a length of time, acts as if he were the soul, or if the body were his own. The soul itself he cannot possess in the same way; but, in this state, he acts on it through the lower faculties of human nature, especially through the imagination. The Scriptural name (Greek) describes accurately the state of possession as "worked by the devil." A person possessed by the evil spirit is violently and despotically turned into a tool or instrument of the devil. Possession, as a fact, is so clearly maintained in Holy Writ and in Tradition, that, without heresy, its existence cannot be denied. See the Commentaries on the Sentences, II. Dist. 8; Perrone, De Vrrtute Religionis.
Corrolary and Conclusion: The Mystery of Iniquity and the Mystery of Grace.
I. In the present order of the Universe, sin is as much a mystery of faith as the supernatural order of grace and sanctity of which it is the counterpart. Its full malice and bearing can only be appreciated in the light of the mystery of grace. The mysterious character of sin is found especially in original sin; with our experimental knowledge alone, and in the hypothesis of a merely natural order, the existence of original sin could not be proved, and its nature would be absolutely inconceivable. But in the light of revelation and in connection with the mystery of grace, original sin presents no insuperable difficulty to the mind, and in its turn, it throws almost all the light obtainable on the existence of evil in the world.
II. Holy Scripture speaks of the mystery of iniquity but once, "The mystery of iniquity already worketh" (Greek, 2 Thess. ii. 7). The Apostle here seems to oppose the mystery of iniquity to the mystery of God: the work of Antichrist to the work of Christ. Christ's work is the mysterious operation of grace for the salvation of mankind; the work of His adversary is the operation of sin for the destruction of souls.