Map of Life - Lesson 4

Map of Life: Chp 4. Creation and fall
Map of Life: Contents
Catechism Series 2: Sin and Its Consequences
Catechism: Q110-127
Bible: Rom 7
Aquinas 101: 
Summa TheologicaIaIIaeQ85a3
Companion to the Summa: 
Random articles: 
Ite Missa Est:


Creation and fall of man

  1. Recap:

    Introduction: Just as we need a geographical map to know where we are, and how to get to where we want to go in the world, we also need a map of life to know where we are in relation to everything else in life, and how to get to our ultimate goal in life. This map of life is given to us by God through Divine Revelation which is preserved, interpreted and transmitted through the Catholic Church.

    Chapter 1:  Just as we must have faith in the geographical map-maker at the start of a journey, we must have faith in life's map-maker at the start of our journey through life. The map of life tells us

          (a) what man is (a creature composed of body and soul, in the image and likeness of God by the possession of an intellect and a will),

          (b) where he is destined (his finality: supernatural union with God).

    Chapter 2:  We also need an law of life so that we might attain the goal indicated on the map of life. This law comprises the physical law (for all material creatures) and the spiritual law (for intelligent creatures). Some spiritual laws are natural to man (eg. the ten commandments), some are divinely revealed in Scripture or Tradition (e.g. the laws of the sacraments). Some spiritual laws form the basis of man-made laws such as canon laws or civil laws. 

    Chapter 3: The "X" that marks the spot on the map of life is heaven, where our highest faculties (intellect and will) are perfected by a perfect knowledge and love of God, which is only possible with supernatural grace (also called supernatural life, sanctifyfing grace and habitual grace).

  2. The first man, Adam before the fall

    Adam was created in a state of Original Justice, which means that he was in a state of supernatural grace (which includes supernatural virtues and gifts). He was also endowed with praeternatural gifts: 

    (i) knowledge - infused knowledge so that he could know the Map of Life (himself, heaven "X" and the law to get there).

    (ii) integrity - which gave the intelligence power over the will, and gave the will power over the passions.

    (iii) impassibility -  which was perfect health due to the perfect possession of the body by the soul.

    (iv) immortality - by which Adam could attain heaven without passing through death.

    To continue the Map of Life metaphor, Adam had all he needed to arrive at "X": he had the knowledge of his goal and knowledge of the law to get there, and he had the supernatural life by which he had the power to get there.

  3. The first man, Adam at the fall

    Genesis 2:17 & 3:1 et seq. tells the story of Adam's fall in which:

    (a) Adam received a command from God to test his obedience;

    (b) but through the temptation of the devil in the form of a serpent he transgressed the command.

    His sin was disobedience born of pride (which implies that the praeternatural gift of integrity does not include submission of the intellect to God).


  4. Consequences of Adam's fall

    (A) For himself (and Eve). Three things happened to Adam after his sin:

    (i) He lost the state of Original Justice (ie. he lost sanctifying grace together with its comity: supernatural virtues and gifts). This absence of original sanctifying grace is called Original Sin.

    (ii) He lost the praeternatural gifts.

    (iii) His human nature was damaged in the intellect and will:

          - his intellect was prone to ignorance

          - his will was prone to malice, and also weakness in the face of the irascible and concupiscible passions

    (B) For all mankind

    As Adam not only represented all mankind, but was the principle from whom all man descended, when he sinned, in a certain way, all men sinned. As a result, all of mankind (except the Blessed Virgin Mary) are conceived with the stain of Original Sin and with damage to their nature. This leaves them in the state we recognise: ignorant of the end, ignorant of the law, and devoid of the power to get to the end.

    Now, why God should ordain things thus (it seems a bit harsh that we suffer for Adam's fault), may be only conjectured, but conjectured with the sure knowledge that whatever God ordains, He does for the best (see the "O happy fault" of the Exultet).

    The fact of Original Sin we know by faith, but by looking at ourselves and mankind in general, our reason can deduce that there is clearly something amiss with man in his current state. Man is troubled in himself; St. Paul says: "For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do." (Rom 7:19

  5. Setting the stage for the Redeemer

    After the fall of Adam, mankind, devoid of supernatural life, gradually lost knowledge of the end (heaven/the purpose of life) and knowledge of the revealed law. Even the law written into his nature became obscured by vice - particularly idolatry. 

    In the fullness of time, God called Abram to remove himself from Ur so that he might found a race into which He may be born with a view to redeeming man from sin and hell, and teaching him the path to heaven.