Monday, February 13, 2006

A Proposed Reconciliation of Total Depravity & Venial Sin

In conversation with a learned friend of the Reformed persuasion last night, I made an attempt at bridging the Reformed notion of total depravity with the Catholic identification of mortal and venial sin. Total Depravity takes very seriously the notion that "the wages of sin are death" and appears on the surface at least to be directly contrary to the Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sin. My suggestion was that while any particular venial sin does not separate us eternally from God in the abscence of Grace even venial sins are corrosive, and lead inexorably to greater sin and ultimately seperation from God through mortal sin.


Update: On reflection, is this moot? Does the mortal/venial distinction only apply in within the context of the Christian life?


Blogger Harrison said...

Well, I've been reading lately JP II's Theology of the Body. In it (I'm reading the explained version by Christopher West right now), he states that there is a small but substantial difference between the Protestant and Catholic view. As you stated, the Prostetant view is Total Depravity. The Catholic view is we are very depraved because of the state of sin. However, God made us and He saw that we were "good". Because we are all made in God's image and likeness, we have that echo of goodness in us through that creation. We are naturally ordered towards the good, as per the state of Original Innocence. However, sin has distorted that natural ordering to the point where sin affects us so much that that it seems impossible to find that ordering towards the good again. However, there is still that echo in which we can build on. This ordering towards the good is of course very Thomistic. But it is essential, because if it is denied then we are denying our being made in God's image and likeness, something no Protestant would want to do to my knowledge.


February 13, 2006 10:19 PM  

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