The Fall

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 385-90, 396-409:

  • Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives us.
  • We can abide in friendship with God only by realizing the truth of our limitations as creatures, and by living according to His will for our own well-being.
  • Our first parents failed to do this; as described in the figurative language of Genesis, the sin of Adam and Eve – their “Fall” – set the pattern of sin that has darkened all of human history.
  • Adam and Eve preferred themselves to God: in St. Maximus the Confessor’s phrase, they wanted to be like God, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.”
  • Instead of trusting God, they believed the lies of the devil; by disobeying God’s will, they cast themselves into an adversarial relationship with Him.
  • Immediately afterward, Adam and Eve discovered that they had been deceived; far from becoming like God, they had, in fact, suffered a ruinous loss.
  • Separated from God, Adam and Eve lost their original justice and holiness, their self-mastery; their mutual relations were subject to tensions and injustice; and even the rest of creation had turned in opposition.
  • Death now entered into the world as the direct result of sin.
  • A cascade effect ensued, for all human nature has since been transmitted in a fallen state; we call this deprivation of holiness “original sin,” which we inherit from our parents; we are born with a wounded nature that is inclined to sin.
  • This is why we need a Savior: by ourselves, we are incapable of reconciling with God or repairing the incalculable damage wrought by sin.

Live Your Faith

God wills what is best for us, knowing perfectly what will lead to our true happiness and well-being.

But like Adam and Eve, we too sometimes prefer ourselves to God. We insist on having our own way, no matter what the unhappy consequences may be.

Let us identify and examine our own particular weaknesses, so that we can pray to overcome them with the help of God’s grace in Christ.