The sin of Adam and Eve left all humanity in deep misery

November 15, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 204

CHAPTER XX.

THE NINTH PRIVILEGE OF VIRTUE: THE MANNER IN WHICH GOD HEARS THE PRAYERS OF THE JUST.

To comprehend what we are about to say upon this subject you must remember that there have been two universal deluges, one material, the other moral.

The former took place in the time of Noe and destroyed every thing in the world but the ark and what it contained.

The moral deluge, much greater and more fatal than the material, arose from the sin of our first parents.

Unlike the flood in the days of Noe, it affected not only Adam and Eve, its guilty cause, but every human being.

It affected the soul even more than the body. It robbed us of all the spiritual riches and supernatural treasures which were bestowed upon us in the person of our first parent.

From this first deluge came all the miseries and necessities under which we groan. So great and so numerous are these that a celebrated doctor, who was also an illustrious pontiff, has devoted to them an entire work. [Innocent III. “De Vilitate Conditionis Humanae.”]

Eminent philosophers, considering on the one hand man’s superiority to all other creatures, and on the other the miseries and vices to which he is subject, have greatly wondered at such contradictions in so noble a creature.

Unenlightened by revelation, they knew not the cause of this discord. They saw that of all animals man had most infirmities of body; that he alone was tormented by ambition, by avarice, by a desire to prolong his life, by a strange anxiety concerning his burial, and, as it appeared to them, by a still stranger anxiety concerning his condition after death.

In fine, they saw that he was subject to innumerable accidents and miseries of body and soul, and condemned to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.

His wretchedness was briefly but forcibly described by Job when he said that “the life of man upon earth is a warfare; and his days are like the days of a hireling” [Job. vii. 1.]

Many of the ancient philosophers were so impressed with this truth that they doubted whether nature should not be called a stepmother rather than a mother, so great are the miseries to which she subjects us.

Others argued that it would be better never to be born, or to die immediately after birth. And some have said that few would accept life could they have any experience of it before it was offered them.

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