How Saint Paul
What where the consequences of their sin?
One of the first results was that they became ashamed that they were naked and they covered themselves with fig leaves. They were no longer in contemplation of God, but were now self-centered in their bodies. Their soul was no longer in communion with God, their bodily desires took charge, and they became ashamed because of their lack of clothing. They began the passionate earthly life that we all now participate in.
they to do now that they were separated from God?
Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake. Neither of them accepted responsibility for the bad choice they had made. They respond with self-justification. They showed no humility in the face of God. Being separated from God, they were now destined to suffer the consequences of eating of the tree of knowledge that God had warned Adam about earlier. They now knew evil and were blinded by it.
It was through their sin that death entered
into the world. We hear this repeated by Saint Paul several times.
What was the sin? It was pride.
They thought they could become like God. They acted out of their
own self interest separate from God.
What are the consequences of this first sin?
Man still had the image of God, but it was now “tarnished” or “dimmed.” Their bodies became grossly material and became subject to sickness, corruption and death. The Garden with the tree of life was no longer open for them. This is the condition we inherit from Adam and Eve. This is what we call “ancestral sin.” We do not inherit the guilt for the bad choice that Adam made, but we inherit the consequence of his sinfulness, the change in nature he experienced, his body becoming subject to death and corruption. Since we are all descendants of Adam and Eve we all inherit their changed nature that resulted from the fall.
What is evil?
Remember, all that God created was good. The cause of evil was in the separation of Adam and Eve from God. This is what sin is, a separation from God. This was not God’s doing, but man’s own doing. Evil in the world is a consequence of falling out of union with God, turning to rely only on our own will instead of the will of God. Evil is the result of sin and being separated from God.
How could man fall into this sin of pride?
Our Creator created man in His image and gave man three great gifts at his creation: freedom, reason, and love. These are all essential for his spiritual growth. But along with freedom goes the possibility of making the wrong choices and being subject to temptation. Being tempted for reason is to become proud in mind, and then seeking the knowledge of good and evil outside of God. This is like making oneself a “god.” The temptation of love in place of love of God and one’s neighbor is to love oneself and everything that satisfies bodily desires. If we are to love God with all our heart, we must be able to freely choose to do so. For forced love is not really love. God’s plan was for man to become like God so this possibility was part of man’s creation.
How about misfortune?
Misfortunes such as storms or accidents are not in themselves evil or good. We must have reverence for the natural order of the world. We may not understand all its workings, but we are part of a larger interrelated system. Endlessly, the various and mutually opposed strivings of blind elemental powers and organic creatures are colliding with each other at every moment, and are brought into harmony becoming a source for continual renewal in the world.
How about our difficult sufferings?
with the Fall. The causes of diseases and sufferings are men themselves.
Consequences of moral evil spread from people to the animal world
and to the whole of creation. Paul writes,
Evil is a deviation from the original condition of Paradise. God is not the cause of moral evil. Evil consists of the violation of God’s will, the commandments of God, and the moral law which is written in the human conscience. This violation is called sin.
God never abandoned mankind. Throughout the Old Testament
we can see how he tried to call them back to Himself. He took away
neither His image nor the freedom of will or reason. Man could still
choose to love God with all his heart and mind. But mankind now needed
help to reunite with God.