The Parish Catechism, Lesson 09: The Beginning of the Human Race

detail of the painting 'The Temptation', by William Strang, 1899; Tate Britain art gallery, Millbank, London, England; swiped from Wikimedia Commons“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

105. Who were the first man and first woman?

Adam and Eve were the first man and first woman.

“So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them . . . And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life: and man became a living soul … And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman” (Genesis 2:1-22)

106. Do all races and nations come from one set of first parents?

Yes, all races and nations come from one pair of first parents. The Bible teaches us there is only one set of first parents. Science teaches that all men are the same in bodily structure and in powers of mind and soul.

107. Did Adam and Eve possess grace?

From the first instance of their creation Adam and Eve possessed grace, until the moment they sinned.

“Thou hast made him a little less than the angels: thou hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:6)

108. Did Adam and Eve keep the great gift of grace?

Adam and Eve lost grace by sin.

109. What sin did Adam and Eve commit?

They committed a mortal sin of disobedience. They failed to obey God’s command. This first sin as committed by Adam we call Original Sin.

“And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat” (Genesis 3:6)

110. Because of Adam’s sin what happened to all his descendants?

Every human being since the time of Adam and Eve is conceived and born without grace because of the sin of Adam.

“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

111. Is it therefore impossible for men to get to heaven?

No, it is not impossible to get to heaven. Christ died on the cross to restore grace to the human race.

“And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

112. How do you obtain God’s grace?

You obtain God’s grace by learning and accepting Christ’s truths and by being baptized.

“Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be bom again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

113. Was anyone horn with God’s grace?

Mary, Christ’s Blessed Mother, was born with God’s grace. The special privilege by which Mary was preserved free from Original Sin is called her Immaculate Conception.

114. Besides the gift of grace what other gifts of God did Adam and Eve have?

Besides the gift of grace, Adam and Eve had:

Freedom from sickness, pain, disease and even death.

The gift of knowledge. They knew everything necessary for an adult to know without study.

Freedom from a strong inclination to evil. Adam and Eve were free from the inclination to impurity, drunkenness and other human weaknesses.

115. In Baptism do you regain all the gifts that Adam and Eve had?

You do not. All human beings, because of the sin of Adam, now have these weaknesses: The liability to sickness, disease, pain, and death.

“Thou shalt die the death” (Genesis 2:17)

Weak and ignorant minds A strong inclination to evil.

“For the imagination and thought of man*s heart are prone to evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21)

116. What inclinations to evil do men experience in themselves on account of the sin of Adam?

Because of the sin of Adam men experience these inclinations to evil:

Lust – urging men to sins of sex.

Laziness – leading to neglect of religious and family duties.

Gluttony – leading to drunkenness.

Anger – leading to fighting, hatred and revenge.

Greed – a sinful desire for wealth.

Envy – leading to a desire to take another’s goods.

Pride – an excessive love of oneself.

117. What remedies are there to defeat the evil tendencies and weaknesses in men?

In order to defeat evil tendencies, we ought to : Practice self-denial and self control. Avoid any person, place or thing that leads to sin. Fast and abstain. Pray. Receive Holy Communion and the other Sacraments frequently.

– from The Parish Catechism, by Father Martin W Farrell, 1954