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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For early Christians, the revelation of Jesus Christ brought more than hope and ecstatic expectation. It also sharpened their sense of the disjunction between who we are and who we are meant to be. Working backwards from their experience of the risen Christ, they came to see Christ’s death and resurrection as proof not only of God’s love but also of the existential need for a saviour. Gradually, early Christian reflection coalesced into the doctrine of the fall or the doctrine of original sin. The Catholic theological tradition has always embraced this doctrine as a necessary tool for balancing appreciation for the goodness of creation with unblinking realism about the human condition. Its precise theological formulation, however, has varied considerably over the centuries. This chapter discusses the historical origins of Catholic teaching, the classical synthesis solidified by the Council of Trent, and recent developments in theology and magisterial teaching.

Keywords: evil, suffering, original sin, fall, limbo, evolution, Adam, Eve, Augustine, Trent

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