Interesting speculative question

Would the absence of sin in the created universe remove the possibility of errors in human judgment, physical injuries, interpersonal misunderstandings, etc., or are these realities arising from the nature of the human person and only accentuated by sin? Had Adam and Eve never sinned would Adam still have potentially missed an important item on the grocery list, stubbed his toe in the dark, hurt Eve’s feelings by working longer hours in the Garden, etc.?

Beats me. You might poke around in the Summa to find out if Thomas speculates about this. Since error is not sin, I can imagine unfallen men making mistakes (children do, after all). But since one of the effects of sin is a darkened intellect, it’s hard to say if unfallen intellects might be preserved from making errors. At most, we can speculate, of course, since we, with our fallen intellects can’t really know.

I wonder if Ye Olde Statistician might have some input here, given his familiarity with Thomas.

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  • soylent greenie

    The lesson that I draw from History, i. e. Irene Sandler, is that Heroic Good is impossible without Great Evil; and Genuine Compassion is impossible absent Genuine Suffering.

  • Specifically, I’d start here:

  • Martha O’Keeffe

    I think it would be possible to make errors of reason (e.g. the way science advanced by propositions such as phlogiston and the like which were later found to be erroneous). I think that C.S. Lewis shows an example of an unfallen being learning, in his portrayal of the Green Lady in “Perelandra”, where she says that Ransom is ‘making her older’ by giving her new things to think about in relation to her obedience to the will of God.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    I seem to recollect that Thomas claimed that had Eve alone sinned, mankind would not have fallen. It was Adam’s sin that mattered.

    • Since we’re speculating anyway: was Adam’s worse sin here eating the forbidden fruit (or its allegorical equivalent), or was it in allowing Eve to do so/allowing her to be tempted by not clearing the garden of the serpent?

      • Dan F.

        or a combination of the two? We’re Catholics so “Both/and” is usually the right answer to any give dichotomy.

      • Gigalith

        I have been wondering for a while which was the greatest sin: Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, Adam eating the Fruit, or Judas betraying Jesus?

      • I’ve wondered if the reason why Adam’s sin was worse is because he was specifically told not to eat the fruit but Eve wasn’t (at least, not by God).

  • oregon nurse

    ” Since error is not sin, I can imagine unfallen men making mistakes (children do, after all).”

    It sounds like you are saying children are not fallen? Little children may be innocent of their own sin before the age of reason, but they are just as fallen as anyone else by virtue of original sin. Even when guilt of original sin is erased by baptism, the fallen nature remains.

    • chezami

      No. I’m saying children below the age of reason are not capable of actual sin.

  • Rachel K

    On a similar note, I’ve often wondered if toddler defiance is a result of original sin (mom of a two-and-a-half-year-old, here). It’s perfectly normal and healthy–toddlers have to test boundaries to find out what the rules are and are just identifying themselves as separate beings from their parents–but in an unfallen world, would a toddler do that by saying “no” all the time and disobeying, or in some other manner? Or, to put it another way, did baby Mary throw her toys on the floor a thousand times just to see if St. Anne would keep picking them up?

  • Nicole

    Seems like some such errors would be possible, since Mary and Joseph left Jesus behind in Jerusalem. Of course, I guess since Joseph’s sinlessness is not an article of faith, we could say it was all his fault…