The evil stain

It’s quite obvious that we have somehow fallen in the mud from which we were created. It suffices to admit that a natural law exists to appreciate to what extent is the human kind fulfilling it without coaction -fear or hope- in general terms. We can find this law in the common ground of the main religions of the world. My wife, an ex-Buddhist and a Christian nowadays, explained me about the five precepts that every normal man has to observe in her previous creed: 1) don’t kill life, 2) don’t steal, 3) don’t fornicate, 4) don’t lie and 5) don’t get drunk. The first four points depend on the last one, understood in a wide sense as keeping your consciousness against passion’s attack. This and infinite more, that is to say, every natural moral rule -she added- can be summarized in Christian love.

However, if we redefine the first precept as “don’t kill without a fair reason” (for instance, protecting an equal good that we cannot otherwise save), none of them is violated by beasts in most cases. That’s admirable and should move us to reflection: they are not rational, but they can satisfy a rational law. Never the less, we do it backwards from them, since we break the moral law continuously, and we would do it more often if there was no law or no custom forcing us to reconsider the benefits of being wicked.

Certainly, the stupid creatures slavered by us never make a war, and by the way not usually a war to death, but only for defending themselves from imminent dangers, fight with other predators in order to survive or rival with members of the same species when trying to get a female for later reproduction. They don’t love any food not coming from their work. There is no hypocrisy in their kind. They avoid vague sex and waste of energy produced by it. They despise every superfluous pleasure.

Thus, we can deduce that, knowing the existence of this eternal law that even beasts are experts with, and being aware of the man, the most rational creature walking on the Earth, infringing it as he was totally ignorant; in regard of the everlasting rule written in our heart that everyone can read, I say, we can infer that something obnubilates our intelligence and moral sense in a permanent way, preventing us of being faithful to it and naturally perfect.

We can find, I don’t deny it, animals whose behaviour -regular or sporadic- seem to break natural principles. But they are just the exception confirming the rule, while a good man is an exception for the whole human race. If crime was something unusual and extraordinary, laws wouldn’t be needed at all, because law -Latins said- doesn’t care about the insignificant.

What is, then, ruining our understanding and making us be beneath wild animals? Might it be our free will? This is similar to blaming knife for the slash. It is not for the sake of our consciousness that we are falling in the sin, but despite of it. Our oppression, then, isn’t in the will, as buddhist think; more likely it’s previous to its stimulus. Theologians referred to the original sin when designating this shameful prostration. Islam rejects it, and this should be enough to prove this religion wrong. But it’s not our commitment now.

When he had not discovered yet he was mortal, man died ever and forever. But, as soon as he realized about it, the imperishable wish of being immortal was born in him. From that wish it follows both the opportunity of its fulfillment, by the means of virtue and obedience to God, and the possibility of failure, by rebelling against Him. Our rational and immortal soul, then, was miraculously produced in us when we desired to possess knowledge of God, and later recreated in every new human conception.

Only those who know they are going to die are rational, since they can picture their life as a whole and, thus, have an ego contrasting with the rest of the world, which turns to be an object. Plus, there is no rationality without judgement; there is no judgement without propositions; and, finally, there are no propositions without a subject (and a predicate). But no one can represent a subject without being himself a subject.

I call this consciousness’ awakening a miracle, because it exceeds human forces -you cannot want what you don’t understand- and, as far as it’s impossible for any irrational creature to approach God without supernatural help, doesn’t depend completely on any naturalistic variable.

As for the original sin, Adam and Eve’s story points to the future, although it takes the narrative form of a mythical past. It stands for those who, gone astray from God, lose heaven.

Burnet referred to it in this words:

And it’s likewise evident that in all parts this depravation is the same: As we may thence naturally conclude that depravation is something inherent in our natures, and therefore must have been derived from that common stock from whence all mankind derived their natures”.

Genesis book has an allegorical sense. Adam and Eve’s expected immortality disappeared at the same time they realized, by sinning, how far they were from God. The original sin, then, is the tragic consciousness of the impossibility of avoiding sin without God’s grace. Adam and Eve -whoever they represent- stained the animal part in our soul. Even angels sin in their mind. Only a sinless creature could save us from eternal death, by assuming our full nature and God’s one. With Adam God makes turns an animal (called “dust” or “mud”, because it was going to turn into ashes) into a human being with an immortal soul. With Jesus He made a sinless man with a godly nature from a sinful humanity.

The origin of the sin is in the will, but predisposition to sin lays in vice, which is unintentional and merely human, since there are not depraved animals. Satan tempts our will in an effort to weaken it, although he doesn’t add anything to our intrinsic vices. He is “the lord of this world”, but only affects the human, putting aside animals who are unable to do neither the good nor the evil; so the evil cannot be identified with vice, which isn’t present in any beast, but with temptation, also ignored by irrational beings.

Our crimes are not due to our will, they are allowed by its weakness from its fallen nature. And we don’t succumb because of our intellect, but because of our incompetence in this brute sensorial state.

And now deal with a paradox:

1) In case we weren’t corrupted, Socrates would be right when stated that “if you know the good, then you will do the good”. But our ordinary experience shows us how wrong this opinion is. Therefore (and unless you can prove that we are bad by nature), the opposite one is easily demonstrated.

2) Thus, do we sin because we are vicious by nature? No, as far as there are not determining biological factors in our organism which make us to tend to the bad rather than to the good (genome proves our molecular structure isn’t much different from chimp’s or dog’s).

Are we, then, naturally bad? Absolutely not. Otherwise we would hate peace, truth, faithfulness and reproduction. And, if we are naturally good, why we act so unfairly? Because of the original sin.

Men are altruist and die for their kind if it’s necessary. But you can hardly characterize something if you only focus on exceptions.

Moreover, we have the same amount of reasons to act right or wrong, while vicious animals -which are nevertheless much less vicious than us- only have reasons to act wrong when they break natural principles. Can you find any animal which starts wars for greed, lies and is unfaithful for pleasure, steals its kind’s food and have orgiastic sex? Well, man does it all.

Plus, humans can be easily devitalized, even destroyed by their own pleasures. On the other hand, animals are spoiled by human civilization.


Theological Miscellany (in Spanish):

 You must know different animals than me. I can give you examples of animals killing other animals just for kicks (i.e. not for defense or food), animals stealing food, space, and anything else animals can use. They eat their young, they live parasitically off of each other. In fact,  for every evil you can think of, there's an animal out there doing it [i]right now[/i], with the exception of things like hipocracy and things like that, which require active beliefs and proclamations an animal cannot make. 
 On the other hand, the other half of Christian love is it's fruits. I do not see animals exhibiting mercy, compassion, charity, hope, and the rest. Perhaps in rare cases, especially those animals trained by humans, can do something we would call 'charitable', but it's dubious. 
 Now, the difference does rest squarely on man's shoulders. We don't see the 'sins' of animals as being such, because we (rightly so) excuse them because they are dumb. You don't consider a wolf eating it's own pup to be 'wrong' because you attribute it to some instinct or need that it was acting on. But this is your mistake, I think- It is not that our rational minds cause us to do wrong.  Rather, it is our conscious minds that cause us to see the things we do (that all other animals do as well) [i]as [/i]wrong, and feel guilt and the need to change.   More importantly, it is our reason that sets us to a higher standard, that we can't justify our actions as a mindless reflex in response to an instinct.