Expert Answer Forum

Is nature fallen? QUESTION from Brad Birzer July 31, 2000 Thanks for such an incredible and useful forum. I refer to it regularly, especially when teaching Western Heritage to our freshmen. My question is short: did nature (or just man) fall after the first sin in the Garden of Eden? Thank you very much, Brad.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on October 15, 2000 Dear Dr. Birzer:
Thank you for your kind words and support of this forum. Hopefully you are not too discouraged that this forum is so far behind. I have been very ill and not able to attend to these questions. Today is the first day that I have been well enough to work on question. Please pray that I can get caught up soon.
Your question is a great one and one that I cannot answer definitively.
I did a quick look through the Aquinas' Summa. I imagine an answer to this will be found with Aquinas or with Augustine.
But I did not find anything specific to the fall of nature. All references I found dealt with the fall as it effects the will and soul of man.
Thus, I suspect that the depravation of nature as taught by some Protestant denominations is false. Certainly, all that God created is good, including the human nature. But as human nature is contaminated by original sin, we may be able to say that material nature also has its contamination.
For example, a person born blind is a material evil, but not a moral evil. Disease in itself is a material evil but not a moral evil.
One could say nature, which is basically good, has been infected by material evil which allows things like disease to exist.
I am only speculating. I will certainly defer to Aquinas or Augustine on this if I can find a reference.
Sorry I could be more help on this at the moment.
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