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The Profession of Faith

97

Paragraph 7. The Fall

385

God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no

one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature

which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and

above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from?

“I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution,” said St.

Augustine,

257

and his own painful quest would only be resolved

by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawless-

ness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our relig­

ion.”

258

The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the

same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace.

259

We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by

fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.

260

I.

W

here

S

in

A

bounded

, G

race

A

bounded

A

ll

the

M

ore

The reality of sin

386

Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it

or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to

understand what sin is, one must first recognize

the profound rela­

tion of man to God,

for only in this relationship is the evil of sin

unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and

opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human

life and history.

387

Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of

sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins.

Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recog-

nize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a develop-

mental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary

consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the

knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse

of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are

capable of loving him and loving one another.

257 St. Augustine,

Conf.

7, 7, 11: PL 32, 739.

258

2 Thess

2:7;

1 Tim

3:16.

259 Cf.

Rom

5:20.

260 Cf.

Lk

11:21-22;

Jn

16:11;

1 Jn

3:8.

309

457

1848

539

1847

1848

1739