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Stevin Habba wrote:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have a problem figuring out where original sin is in the Old Testament. It seems that I can only find proof in the New Testament.

I would like some Scriptural proof that before Jesus Christ came, all people who were born had original sin.

If this is true, that means they were all destined to go to Hell, unless of course, they were forgiven through animal sacrifice. I do know when Jesus Christ came He took all the people, who were waiting for the Messiah and believed in the God of the Old Testament, up to Heaven with Him.  One other question I have is:

  • Do non-Catholics go to Heaven?

I know that there are many Catholics who will not be going to Heaven, because they are Catholic by name only and don't live out their faith in action.

  • What about Christians who are Christian by faith but seem to lack the wisdom that the Catholic Church is the True Church of God?
  • Are they saved?

I know many people who constantly claim that Jesus Christ did not choose Peter to be the rock of the Church of Christ, and no matter how many sources I give to them, they are still very much opposed to the Church and stick to their beliefs. They still believe in Jesus Christ but they miss many of the core values of the Catholic Church.

  • How could they go to Heaven if they do not believe in the laws that the Catholic Church has created through the Catechism,

    19 Whatsoever you shall bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven. (Matthew 16:13-20)

It's my understanding, that if Christians are not following the Law of God established by the Catholic Church, they are going against it, but they still may enter the Kingdom of Heaven if they believe in Christ.

My opinion is this: a very faithful Catholic Christian would be greater in the Kingdom of Heaven compared to an equally very faithful non-Catholic Christian.

  • Are all Christians going to Heaven?
  • Or do you have to be a Catholic Christian in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

Jesus said it Himself, narrow is the Gate that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven, and wide is the gate that leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13)

  • Are the non-Catholics part of this group of people who are entering this wide gate that leads to destruction? or . . .
  • Will Purgatory play a part in this, where they will need to spend more time in Purgatory to be cleansed of the many sins they committed against God and His Church on Earth.

I believe that non-Catholic Christians and Catholic Christians will be in Purgatory but that the
non-Catholic Christians will be spending most of their time in Purgatory and not in the Kingdom of Heaven, for they will need to be cleansed of their sins.

It's my understanding that mortal sins cannot be forgiven unless you go to Confession. Since evangelical Christians do not believe in this, they will most likely have many sins that are unforgiven, but since they believe in Christ, they will still be saved but will need to be cleansed of their sins before they enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • Is this line of thinking correct?

Thank-you!

Stevin

  { Where is original sin in the Old Testament, will non-Catholics be saved, and what about Purgatory? }

John replied:

Hi, Stevin —

Thanks for your question.

You won't find a clearly spelled out doctrine of Original Sin in the Old Testament, especially as it is understood by the Western Church. Bear in mind, that our understanding is based on a juridical model developed by Augustine and that model is, just that, a model or paradigm.

The Eastern Catholic Church, just as the Eastern Orthodox, have an entirely different understanding, based on a different model developed by the Cappadocian fathers.

All that said: the idea that the consequence of Adam's sin is passed on to his seed is evident
in Genesis, Chapter 3. All of creation is cursed. The relationship between husband and wife is changed. While we don't see a spiritual effect, we certainly see a temporal effect that is passed on from generation to generation. Man is cast out of Eden and he must work and sweat. Woman would bear children and labor would be accompanied by pain.

John

Stevin replied:

John,

Thank you for the reply!

I talk with a lot of non-Catholics and occasionally the topic of Purgatory comes up and how it will affect them. If you could address this issue, it would be great.

Regarding Original Sin, I understand and I definitely believe it, but I just wanted something to show non-Catholics who try to claim that Original Sin does not exist because it is nowhere in the Scriptures.

I did look at the Purgatory section on your website, but couldn't find too much detail.

If you can answer my original question, it would be greatly appreciated.

Stevin

John replied:

Stevin —

You seem to be asking several questions so let me generally answer the question of Salvation.

Everybody is saved the same way — by grace alone. It's all about God's Mercy and it is only possible because of Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary. That means if a Buddhist (for example) is saved, he is saved because he responded to whatever grace God gave him; and not because of Buddhism.

The same applies to both us, as well as our Protestant brothers. Of course, Christians have a lot more to be held accountable for. We have heard the Gospel and will be responsible for our response.

The normative way mortal sin is confessed is through the sacrament of Confession. However,
if one does not know of the need for Confession, or if one knows the need, but can not get to Confession, one is not responsible.

Similarly, our culpability for sin is related to how much we know. For a sin to be mortal, it must:

  1. include grave matter and we must know it is grave matter
  2. we must have sufficient time to reflect upon the action before we commit it, and
  3. we must give full consent of the will

So if a Protestant doesn't know that artificial contraception is a grave sin. It is still grave matter, but they don't know it, so their culpability is mitigated.

Ultimately, we know that God wants all men to be saved so He's not sitting in Heaven trying to make it more difficult for us to receive Mercy. He's not trying to find every excuse to keep us out. Just the opposite, all God knows is how to love us. Confession is the means He has given us to access His grace but God is not limited by the limitations He puts on us.  He can save, in ways only known to Himself, anyone who is willing to receive and accept His Mercy.

I would also like to go back and address the matter of Original Sin again as it relates to Protestants. Much of the difference between our beliefs boils down to semantics and not substance.

Protestants understand that everyone is born with an inability to come to Christ on our own.
In fact, most of them believe that we are born completely spiritually dead and totally depraved.

When they hear us use the term Original Sin, they assume that we are guilty of Adam's particular sin. They think, we believe an infant is guilty of that original sin, but we don't believe that. 
We believe that we suffer from the effects of that sin. We inherit a spiritual disease for lack of a better term.

They believe something similar. They believe in a sin nature which remains after they are born again. This sin nature is always at war with our spirit which seeks to do the Will of God.
Well, that's pretty close to the Catholic belief, which is at Baptism we are forgiven and regenerated, but concupiscence (the desire to sin) remains.

Remember, as I stated in my first reply, the Western Church developed this whole juridical model or way of talking about sin and punishment. It's based on Augustinian thought but it's only a model or a paradigm. It's an explanation of a mystery, it's not the substance of the doctrine.

The Eastern Church, went down an entirely different road. Where we deal with right and wrong, they deal with life and death. Both are correct.

So it's really important to get to the substance of the doctrines when dealing with our separated brothers. Many time we simply express the same truth in different terms.

John

Stevin replied:

John,

Thank you so very much.

I am still not 100% on how Purgatory works, but I would like to know:

  • How it is that a Buddhist would be able to get into Heaven if (he|she) did not believe that Jesus Christ is God and that He died on the cross for our sins?

Salvation to me only comes to people who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. A Buddhist does not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; and of course, the God they believe in is not the God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) Catholic Christians believe in.

The following quote from Matthew's Gospel appears to tells us that God will not be so merciful toward people who are against His Church, and especially those who are non-Christians.

13 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

Matthew 7:13

As you can see, this quote is telling us that the gate that leads souls to the Kingdom of Heaven is narrow, meaning that most of us will not experience the ecstasy of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I understand we don't believe an infant is guilty of original sin, but that we believe that we suffer from the effects of that sin. I'm having trouble understanding the difference between original sin and sin.

  • Is there a difference?
  • Is Original Sin greater than other sins , especially the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit?
  • Also, is it safe to say that because God tells us that there is such a thing as an unforgivable sin, that Purgatory does, in fact, exist?
  • Wouldn't someone who believes in God who sinned against the Holy Spirit go to Hell if the sin is unforgivable and Purgatory does not exist?

Maybe those who sinned against the Holy Spirit would be in Purgatory for all eternity.

The word Baptism comes from a Greek word that means to plunge or immerse. To plunge someone in water represents the person dying, being buried and resurrecting with Christ as a
new creature. (CCC #1214) Some call this sacrament the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit because Baptism results in a new birth of water and the Spirit. Without it, no one can enter the Kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

  • Why then do you claim that it is possible for someone who is Buddhist and who has never been baptized, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
  • Wouldn't that go against the infallible Jesus Christ?

    5 Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

This no one includes infants as well, so in my eyes, I feel as though even infants would not go to Heaven if they were not baptized, and that's why so few will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Explain the following quote:

20 The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. 

Ezekiel 18:20

This claims that the father and mother who neglect to baptize their child will die, but the child would not bear the punishment for the parent's failure to baptize the child. Then it says nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity (immoral behavior).

  • So this really cancels each other out . . . Right?

The parents of the child who was not baptized are not going to bear the punishment for the child's failure to think morally and for the child not being baptized.

I'd appreciate a solid answer that directly answers my questions.

Thank you brothers and sisters,

Stevin

Mary Ann replied:

Stevin,

Jesus also said that the gentiles, the pagans, who never knew Him or knew of Him, would be saved by serving Him in giving food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, etc.

One who knows that Christ is the Savior and refuses to put faith in Him will not be saved. One who has never heard of Christ can be saved by following Him who is the Truth and the Life, the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world., as St. John said at the beginning of his Gospel. (John 1:1-18)

As for the narrow and the wide gate, Christ, as always, speaks of the way, the direction. Most of us, most of the time, do seek the easy way that leads to destruction. That does not mean we cannot be saved. People convert, they continue to struggle, or they turn to God at the last moment. Jesus is saying that we should seek the narrow gate, seek the safest way, seek the harder way, because it is more sure.

Don't be lax and lazy and rely on some formula or some ritual to get you into Heaven. It won't. Only by following Christ, the Word of God (written in the hearts of all men), will we get into Heaven.

Mary Ann

Paul replied:

Hello Stevin,

To throw my two cents in, Jesus' death saved all humanity that do not reject Him.

Him is not only the Incarnation but, as He calls Himself in Scripture, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) To those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Son in His Incarnation, Jesus can still save by their sincere cooperation with Him as the Way, Truth, and Life.

As for Baptism, get to know Christianity's tradition of Baptism by blood and Baptism by desire as well as Baptism sacramentally by water.

The Sacraments of Christian Initiation

VI. The Necessity of Baptism

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. (cf. John 3:5) He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. (cf. Matthew 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14; Vatican II, Ad Gentes 5) Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. (cf. Mark 16:16) The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 22 § 5; cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 16; Vatican II, Ad Gentes 7) Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," (Mark 10:14; cf. 1 Timothy 2:4) allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

Peace,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi, Stevin —

Let me address several issues you have brought up:

The difference between sin and Original Sin, and sin against the Holy Spirit.

From the Catechism:

III. Original Sin.

Freedom put to the test.

396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil spells this out: for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die. (Genesis 2:17) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

Man's first sin.

397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. (cf. Genesis 3:1-11; Romans 5:19) All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully divinized by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to be like God, but without God, before God, and not in accordance with God. (St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua: PG 91,1156C; cf. Genesis 3:5)

399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. (cf. Romans 3:23) They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image — that of a God jealous of his prerogatives. (cf. Genesis 3:5-10)

400 The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. (cf. Genesis 3:7-16) Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. (cf. Genesis 3:17, 19) Because of man, creation is now subject to its bondage to decay. (Romans 8:21) Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will return to the ground (Genesis 3:19; cf. 2:17) for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history. (cf. Romans 5:12)

401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. And even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians. (cf. Genesis 4:3-15; Genesis 6:5, 12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 1-6; Revelation 2-3) Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:

What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.

(Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 13 § 1)

The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity.

402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners: sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned. (Romans 5:12,19) The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (Romans 5:18)

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the death of the soul. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1512) Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1514)

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam as one body of one man. (St. Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 4, 1) By this unity of the human race all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1511-1512) It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called sin only in an analogical sense: it is a sin contracted and not committed — a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual, (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513) original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the Second Council of Orange (529) (DS 371-372) and at the Council of Trent (1546). (cf. DS 1510-1516)


The sin against the Holy Spirit happens when someone says

My sin is so terrible, even God could not forgive it.

The root of this sin is the vice of despair which that bastard satan plants into our minds.
No matter what type of sin anyone has committed, there is always a Catholic priest ready to:

  • (if you are a Catholic) hear your Confession
  • (if you are not a Catholic) give you spiritual guidance and direction.

In reference to:

  • What is Purgatory and is not.

First, from the Catechism:

III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Matthew 12:31-32.

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." [2 Maccabees 12:39-46] From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.

St. John l, Homily in 1 Corinthians 41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. Job 1:5.

IV. Hell

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:14-15) Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. (cf. Matthew 25:31-46) To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called Hell.

Purgatory is not a second chance. Those in Purgatory are saved by the merits of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ but have remaining self-love attached to their souls. Purgatory has nothing to do with salvation or justification; Purgatory has to do with the personal holiness of our souls.
We usually refer to it as the Holy Hospital of Heaven. Remember:

27 Nothing impure will enter Heaven. Revelations 21:27

I recommend you search through our knowledge base for any remaining issues you are confronted with. You can find the search engine here:

Finally, if you know of any parishioners in your area that have a strong devotion to the Holy Souls, tell them to check out my other website dedicated to purifying the forgotten, but saved, Holy Souls in Purgatory. We are trying to start Purgatory Prayer Programs across the United States and can send anyone interested a FREE Purgatory Prayer Program starter kit.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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