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97. The Preservation of Man in the State of Innocence

1. Man, in the state of innocence, was immortal; he wasnot to die. But immortality was a supernaturally bestowed gift; itwas not merely a perfection of man's nature. And man lost thissupernatural gift by his rebellion against God. It was by sin thatdeath came into the world.

2. In view of the supernatural gift of immortality ordeathlessness, man was to be free from the ravages of age,sickness, injury, breakdown, decay. To this extent, man was to beimpassible, that is, not subject to suffering or harmful influence.Man could have undergone normal and nonharming experiences, such asappetite for food and the tendency to sleep. Man'simpassibility was lost, with his immortality, by the originalsin.

3. In the state of innocence, man needed food; God toldour first parents (Gen. 2:16) to eat of the fruits of all the treesof Paradise except that of one certain tree. Food will always be arequirement of living man until the body is spiritualized at thegeneral resurrection; then there will be no need whatever of bodilysustenance.

4. Scripture indicates that fallen man might have gainedimmortality again by eating of the "tree of life" (Gen.3:22). But this would not have been an absolute immortality such asman had lost. The "tree of life" could have rejuvenatedman, but it would not have given man permanent youth and unagingperfection; it would have had to be eaten again and again; it wouldsave man from age, but age would come on anew.

"Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it."
St Philip Neri

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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