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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.

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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