February 18, 2010

Theology of the Body: Original Innocence

In John Paul II's Theology of the Body, he discusses the idea of "original innocence." He bases this teaching on Genesis 2:25 "The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame." Without original innocence it would have been impossible for Adam and Eve to recognize the nuptial meaning of their bodies. The nuptial meaning of the body is being made in the image and likeness of God and loving others as God loves us. Our very bodies testify to this truth.

The interior state of our first parents before sin was markedly different from our own. The fact that Adam and Eve were naked yet felt no shame is a clear indication that they existed in a state of original innocence. It would never have occurred to Adam to use Eve as an object for sexual gratification. Eve would never have used Adam as an object for her sexual gratification. Their relationship did not entail use.

Original innocence is a particular "purity of heart." By this purity, Adam and Eve were able to give themselves to each other as sincere gifts. Our first parents saw in each other what God had created, and they chose in their wills to view one another as God viewed them -- persons possessing an infinite value and dignity.

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