In the Old Testament book of Genesis 2:4-3:24 we learn about Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve sinned and lost the privilege of living in the Garden of Eden. However, their lost was much greater than simply having to relocate. Their likeness to God was also lost. Before they sinned, they had a loving, open connection to God their omnipotent Creator. Therefore, they perfectly reflected the divine likeness of God in the unique people that God had created them to be. Their human nature was an unspoiled reflection of the goodness of God. After they sinned, they lost this likeness. This is referred to as Original Sin. According to Christian teachings, every human person is now born into a world where there is sin and suffering due to our loss of likeness to God the Father.
Through the sacrament of Baptism, Catholics believe that sanctifying grace is given to us so we can begin our lifetime quest where we are seeking to restore our likeness to God. The sacrament of Baptism washes away the stain of Original Sin by Adam and Eve, but it does not take away our own propensity to sin. Our human will is not strong enough to overcome our temptation to sin on its own anymore, like Adam and Eve once had the power to do. To make progress on our lifetime journey, we need God’s grace. Only God can create grace. The human person has the freedom to choose to cooperate with this gift of grace, or not. This grace flows into our lives continuously and grows more and more abundant each time we cooperate with this gift of grace. As Catholics, we have hope that one day we can experience the Beatific Vision where our own likeness to God has been restored through our cooperation with God’s grace.