Christian Restorationism

Christ restores all things by making all things new

When God created the Heavens and the earth and later humanity with our first parents Adam and Eve, everything was in a perfect state in its origins. There was no sin, no corruption. Our first parents both had supernatural gifts as well as what are known as the preternatural gifts. Furthermore they were in the original state of sanctifying grace. God created man in His image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27), that is to say that man was endowed with 1) intellectual reason 2) free will 3) and a spiritual and immortal soul. Furthermore as stated above they also possessed the preternatural gifts, gifts which are above human nature, but yet not higher than higher creation “the angels.” Amongst these gifts are the gift of integrity, a most perfect union with one’s own body, both biologically, as well as spiritually and even sexually with the use of the sexual faculty. This integrity also corresponded in regards to the interaction between man and his surround (e.g., animals, plants, nature). The gift of immortality included freedom from death, impassibility, freedom from pain, and lastly infused knowledge, knowledge of oneself and his surrounding nature.

When sin entered the world through the disobedience of our first parents everything changed. We lost the preternatural gifts. Integrity was lost and man was subjected to concupiscence, the tendency to fall into sin and a loss of control over our lower faculties and our inner passions. Man furthermore became mortal and death became a consequence of original sin. Eternal death (Hell) also became a possibility. Jesus called the devil a liar and murder from the beginning (John 8:44). Infused knowledge of ourselves and the world around us was lastly lost.

Amongst the effects of original sin not only was man affected but the whole universe with it. It affected the whole universe. Animals became hostile to man based on this loss of communication between man and nature. Original sin even affected the cosmos, weather became distorted and abnormal, such as famines, droughts and storms, and society was affected with the start of wars and hostilities amongst brethren. Blessed Catherine Emmerich gives a fascinating account of creation, the paradise of Eden, original sin, and the Fall of man in The Lowly Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. According to her account our first parents in their original state would be hardly recognizable as humans today but resembled dazzling beings emitting beams of glittering light who possessed awesome preternatural powers. Likewise, she said that animals as we know them today are mere distorted shadows of their original nature. She describes how original sin and the Fall caused a universal dislocation in which its spiritual and physical effects are still going strong, a calamity extending in space and time throughout all creation until the end of times.

Traditonal BaptismSalvation history became a restoration of all things with God and to its original nature. This salvation history and work of restoration started with the Israelites of the Old Testament and reached its fulfillment with Christ and His Catholic Church which he founded. Jesus Christ finalized the work of redemption by his death on the Cross at Calvary. He furthermore founded the Catholic Church and provided us with a sacramental system of grace. This is most true with the first initial sacrament of Baptism in which we are restored to a state of sanctifying grace transforming us from a merely natural human nature, while fallen and corrupted, into a supernatural state of grace, as well as adopted children of God and heirs of His Kingdom. The Eucharist furthermore made us as St. Peter states “Partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Pet 1:4)

Saint Paul tells the Galatians this reality of restoration and of redemption, showing them that they are being made adopted children of God and heirs to his kingdom:

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God. (Gal 4:4-7)

Similarly Christ inspires Saint John to write this similar reality of restoration and redemption in Christ through the apocalyptic vision and descriptions that God gave Saint John:

Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. (Rev 21:3-5)

Throughout the history of the Catholic Church we see glimpses of this restored humanity amongst the most holy of Saints. We see Saint Philip Neri and a deep possession of the gifts of the Holy Ghost which is itself a partial restoration and glimpse of the preternatural gifts. We see Saint Francis and his communication with animals and all of nature, a partial restoration of integrity and infused knowledge. We see Saint Padre Pio and his gifts of discerning people’s hearts, the gift of knowing people’s sins, that of bi-location, and the many other gifts he was blessed with, all of which are a foreshadowing of the many preternatural and supernatural gifts that were lost due to the effects of original sin.

The full work of restoration has not fully been accomplished. Christ has redeemed us, he has provided us with a font of graces, a sacramental system of salvation and His Church. He has furthermore made us his adopted children, heirs of his kingdom and partakers of the divine nature. At the same time we are still subjected to the consequences and effects of original sin and the loss of the preternatural gifts. We still suffer from concupiscence, a distorted and wounded intellect, death and the effect of mortality, and lastly the problem of pain. Christ is however preparing us and constantly working through his Church and in each one of us the mission of a complete restoration which awaits us in Heaven where we shall obtain our glorified bodies and our perfect and restored nature.

 

 

 

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