Questions and Answers on the Creation and the Fall of Man
1. Who made us?
God made us.
(a) Reason unaided by revelation can prove that God exists. It knows that this vast
universe could not have come into being by its own powers. The movement of creatures and
their dependence upon one another, the various degrees of perfection found in them, the
fact that they come into being and cease to be, and, finally, the marvelous order in the
universe, demand the existence of an almighty power and the wisdom of an eternal
intelligent cause that we call God.
2. Who is God?
God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in
(a) This universe did not always exist; it came into existence at the beginning of
(b) All things depend on God; they begin and continue to exist by the power of God.
3. Why did God make us?
God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness
(a) By creating the world God did not increase His own happiness, since He was
infinitely happy from all eternity, but He did manifest His glory externally by sharing
His goodness. All creatures by their very existence show forth the glory of God, for all
depend on God for their existence.
(b) God created man to manifest His glory in a special way. He gave man an intellect
and a will that he might know, praise, and love his Creator. In the service of God man
finds his true, though imperfect, happiness in this life. Perfect happiness has been
promised in the next life as a reward for the merits man acquires here on earth. Thus the
happiness of man is also a purpose of creation.
(c) The happiness of heaven consists in the direct vision, love, and enjoyment of God.
This reward so far exceeds man's nature that without the supernatural help of God it could
not possibly be attained. In heaven God gives us the light of glory, which enables us to
see Him face to face. During our life on earth God gives us His grace, which enables us to
live a supernatural life and to perform the actions that can earn this reward.
(d) The happiness of the blessed in heaven varies according to the merits of their
lives on earth. All in heaven are perfectly happy, but one person may have a greater
degree of happiness than another because he has more capacity for happiness, by another
because he has more capacity for happiness, by reason of a more virtuous life on earth.
48. What is man?
Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.
(a) The soul and the body are not loosely connected parts of man, they are united in a
substantial union to form one complete human nature. The soul is not located in any
particular member of the body but is whole and entire in each part.
49. Is this likeness to God in the body or in the soul?
This likeness to God is chiefly in the soul.
(a) All creatures bear some resemblance to God inasmuch as they exist. Plants and
animals resemble Him insofar as they have life, but none of these creatures is made to the
image and likeness of God. Plants and animals do not have a rational soul, such as man
has, by which they might know and love God.
50. How is the soul like God?
The soul is like God because it is a spirit having understanding and free will, and is
destined to live forever.
(a) Men are especially like God when they know and love Him:
first, in a merely natural way without the aid of grace;
second, in a supernatural way here on earth, with the aid of grace;
third, in a perfect way in heaven, with the aid of the special] light God gives to
the souls of the blessed.
(b) Understanding is the power of the soul to apprehend, to judge, and to reason, and
thus to know right and wrong.
(c) Conscience is that judgment by which we decide here and now what we should do as
good or avoid as evil.
(d) Free will is that power of the soul to choose either to act or not to act.
(e) Human souls live forever because they are spirits.
(f) The never-ending life of the soul is called immortality.
51. Who were the first man and woman?
The first man and woman were Adam and Eve, the first parents of the whole human race.
(a) The theory of evolution which teaches that higher forms of life develop from lower
forms has offered no convincing, scientific proof that the human body developed gradually
from that of a lower animal.
(b) If scientific proof of such development of the body of man could be had, it would
not be opposed to Catholic doctrine provided that some special action of God is admitted
not only in the creation of the soul but also in the production of the body of Adam.
(c) The human soul, being spiritual, could not possibly have developed from a lower,
material form of life.
(d) Sacred Scripture teaches that Adam's soul, like every human soul, was created
directly by God.
52. What was the chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God?
The chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God was sanctifying grace, which made them
children of God and gave them the right to heaven.
(a) Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift which is a sharing in the nature of God
Himself and which raises men to the supernatural order, conferring on them powers entirely
above those proper to human nature.
(b) Together with sanctifying grace God gave Adam and Eve the super natural virtues and
the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
53. What other gifts were bestowed on Adam and Eve by God?
The other gifts bestowed on Adam and Eve by God were happiness in the Garden of
Paradise, great knowledge, control of the passions by reason, and freedom from suffering
(a) These gifts are not supernatural or above all created natures, but they are
preternatural, that is, beyond the powers of human nature, though not above all created
(b) If Adam had not sinned, these gifts would have been transmitted to all men as the
possession of human nature.
54. What commandment did God give Adam and Eve?
God gave Adam and Eve the commandment not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree that
grew in the Garden of Paradise.
(a) God wished to test the obedience of our first parents in order that they might have
the privilege of proving themselves faithful to Him and of meriting, in a special way,
everlasting happiness in heaven.
55. Did Adam and Eve obey the commandment of God?
Adam and Eve did not obey the commandment of God, but ate of the forbidden fruit.
(a) In eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve committed sins of pride and
disobedience. Our first parents sinned grievously because they deliberately disobeyed a
grave command of God.
56. What happened to Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
On account of their sin Adam and Eve lost sanctifying grace, the right to heaven, and
their special gifts; they became subject to death, to suffering, and to a strong
inclination to evil, and they were driven from the Garden of Paradise.
(a) The loss of sanctifying grace and the special gifts marked the beginning of that
conflict between man's lower powers and his reason, of which Saint Paul says, "The
flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh . . ." (Galatians
(b) Sacred Scripture teaches us that Adam, by the grace of God, later obtained the
remission of his sin.
57. What has happened to us on account of the sin of Adam?
On account of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, come into the world deprived of
sanctifying grace and inherit his punishment, as we would have inherited his gifts had he
been obedient to God.
58. What is this sin in us called?
This sin in us is called original sin.
59. Why is this sin called original?
This sin is called original because it comes down to us through our origin, or descent,
60. What are the chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin?
The chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin are death,
suffering, ignorance, and a strong inclination to sin.
(a) The fact of original sin explains why man is so often tempted to evil and why he so
easily turns from God.
(b) Because of the ignorance resulting from original sin, the mind of man has
difficulty in knowing many necessary truths, easily falls into error, and is more inclined
to consider temporal than eternal things.
(c) The penalties of original sin--death, suffering, ignorance, and a strong
inclination to sin--remain after Baptism, even though original sin is taken away.
(d) Although we have a strong inclination to evil as a result of original sin, our
nature is not evil in itself; it can perform some good actions in the natural order
without the aid of grace.
61. Is God unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam?
God is not unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam, because original sin
does not take away from us anything to which we have a strict right as human beings, but
only the free gifts which God in His goodness would have bestowed on us if Adam had not
62. Was any human person ever preserved from original sin?
The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of her
Divine Son; and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.
(a) In the first instant of her conception the Blessed Virgin Mary possessed the
fullness of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. She
was, however, subject to pain and suffering, as was her Divine Son.
(b) By a special privilege of Almighty God, Our Blessed Mother was free throughout her
life from all actual sin, both mortal and venial.
The Baltimore Catechism, no. 3, Lessons 1 and 5.
Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1997. All rights reserved.
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