Thoughts on Original Sin by Tatha Wiley (2002) 4C

Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109) considered Original Sin when feudalism reigned.  The keystones of feudalism were obedience and honor.  So the Lord was the first Lord.  Adam was the first subject of the Lord.  Adam disobeyed and so dishonored his Master.

One can almost feel the flutter as the ladies of the court looked up from their illuminated manuscripts, decorated in indigo and gold, to hear Anselm speak in that wonderful Medieval way.  One can almost smell the warning to the knights and dukes, always conniving in their service of the king: Disobey and you will be cast from the Eden that is England.

The price – the retribution – for Adam’s insult was to “no longer have the Lord as Master”.  As soon as the Eden disappeared behind the flaming sword, the descendants of Adam and Eve no longer had the supernatural gift (a faculty “of spirit”) of “Original Justice”.  This supernatural gift permitted the reason and will (the highest faculties “of nature”) to fulfill the transcendent purpose of humans: First, to obey God.  Second, keep justice.

Adam and Eve’s transgression was an act of “freedom” that covered over the true nature of “freedom”; “the absence of sin”.  In concert with Paul, Anselm concluded that “in Adam, all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

With the coming of Jesus the Messiah, freedom is restored.  His sacraments pour Sanctifying Grace into the faculties of the spirit.  Eat his flesh.  Drink his blood.  Look at those illuminations.  They tell the story in purple and gold.