Thursday, February 15, 2007

Evolution of Thought on Original Sin

Followup to something that Jennifer wrote.

This is an excerpt from a 2001 article entitled "Evolution, Evil, and Original Sin" by Daryl P. Domning in America: The National Catholic Weekly.

[T]he work of biblical scholars confirmed that Genesis had been misread in too literal a fashion, and most educated Christians today accept the fact of evolution. Yet no substitute has been agreed upon for the classic notion of original sin and its mysterious inheritance by all descendants of Adam....

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had to admit in 1985 that “[t]he inability to understand ‘original sin’ and to make it understandable is really one of the most difficult problems of present-day theology and pastoral ministry” (The Ratzinger Report, p. 79)....

I wish to suggest that the failure of saints and scholars to solve the problem of evil has not been due to insufficient plumbing of the depths of suffering, nor inadequate insight into the mind of God. It has resulted from our simple lack, until the present generation, of certain facts about how the natural world works....

The inescapable fact is that there is virtually no known human behavior that we call “sin” that is not also found among nonhuman animals. Even pride, proverbially the deadliest sin of all, is not absent.

Worth more exploration.


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