QUESTION: When Adam and Eve sinned, i.e when. they did something very dark, relationships were effected. The relationships with themselves and with God. This has to do with a darkness. Now, since we have original sin, we also have a psychological darkness that makes relationships difficult. Asperger syndrome for example could make relationships difficult. That would be one darkness (a loneliness). Now we have two kinds of darkness but they are hard to separate for people. What is the Catholic teaching on this?

ANSWER: The Catholic Church teaches that the story of Adam and Eve has to do with theology, and not history.  From the story and other theological ideas the Church maintains that all human beings are in some way descended from an original couple. (therefore we are all brothers and sisters).  As for original sin, the story tells us that the sin caused four things:  alienation from God (God stopped "walking and talking" with Adam and Eve, as he had done in paradise) alienation from each other (Adam blames Eve for the sin, she blames the serpent; they realize they are naked and make clothing for themselves) alienation from nature (Adam is told that he must work to get his food from the ground; Eve is cursed with pain from childbirth; and finally, alienation from life (death) in that they are told that they will return to the dust from which they came.  So yes, loneliness os a part of the consequences of original sin.  And the Church, of course, teaches that Jesus came to begin the healing of all of this.  As for Asperger's syndrome, it's true that relationships are hard for these people, but it doesn't seem to bother them (I have two grandchildren with this).  And like all the other things people are born with, we don't really have a great idea as to why some seem to be "cursed" more than others.  I guess that will have to be shown to us in the next world.  

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Why is Adam and Eve cursed in the story? Did God curse them?
Sin must have changed human nature. And it's strange that I should be born a sinner just because a dude named Adam sinned some many years ago. Or is it really strange?

As I said before, the story of Adam and Eve is theology, not history.  What Eve did was to follow her own will (the serpent tells her to eat the apple, and she looks at it and can almost taste it (read Genesis) and then chooses to eat it.  Adam takes the apple and eats it as well, rather than fulfilling his role and "ruling over" the serpent, which God had given him the power to do.  The root of all sin according to genesis is following our own will instead of God's, and that is a problem we are born with (that's why it's "original").  What Adam and Eve lost was not their human nature, but rather, the gifts God had given them to place them above nature.  So you and I don't deserve those gifts any more than they did.  Had they not sinned, we'd have those gifts as well.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus gives us the possibility of reclaiming those gifts insofar as we model our lives on his life.  That's the Christian message.  


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Donald Higby


Most any question about Catholic teachings, the structure of the Church, issues related to Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage; I also know a lot about biblical foundations for Catholic teaching, and apologetics. As a scientist and a deacon, I am conversant with the dialogue between science and religion.


Deacon, 13 years; Religion minor, Catholic University of America. Self study.

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Diaconal Formation, four years (college level courses) Catholic University of America, religion minor, philosophy minor. (AB)

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