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Begotten Son, an analogy might help. Suppose that on a

visit to your house, I deliberately break a precious Japanese

vase in a fit of anger. Suppose that you forgive me for this

action. Still, you cannot bring the vase back. Even if you

have it repaired, it will always be that now–restored–broken

vase. Consider a more serious example. Suppose I reveal

to another something you tell me in confidence, indeed

something that you above all want to conceal from that very

person. Suppose that you forgive me. Still, what can undo

the harm I have set in motion? Are you likely to confide

in me again? I don’t think so.

These, and many other examples you could no doubt

provide, may be taken to illustrate what might be called

seemingly “irreparable” harms. Damage is done that cannot

readily be undone. Words are spoken that cannot be with-

drawn. Evenwhere forgiveness is generous and ungrudging,

the passage of time and appropriate measures are needed

to repair the harm that lingers in the wake of certain words

and deeds, both for the wrongdoer and for others affected

by his actions. The sin of our first parents is like this.

Christian revelation teaches us that this actual sin on

the part of our first parents had inescapable consequences

for them and for their descendants, and that God—accommodating our salvation to the nature of the fault,

and thus to our human nature—mercifully willed to

take the time needed to prepare us for the coming of our

“great Redeemer.” By God’s grace, the history of salvation

coincides, we might say, with the history of the human race.

The loss of the state of original justice: consequences

of sin for Adam and Eve

In order to understand the consequences of the sin of

Adam and Eve for them, we need to understand something

of the state of original justice in which they were created.