“What do I have to do with it?” — Original sin and its impact on man

How did Adam and Eve live before the Fall?

God created man in His image and likeness, so that he would be like his Creator, consisting of three components:

  • bodies,
  • Souls,
  • Spirit.

“Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) - said Christ.

The first people, Adam and Eve, lived in a wonderful Garden of Eden - Eden. Everything here was filled with joy and bliss. There was no evil, hostility, sin. Animals did not attack each other, people did not kill animals for meat and skins. They had no need for meat food (everyone ate grass and the fruits of the trees of paradise), warm clothes, and indeed any clothes at all.

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And most importantly, God was always with them, who appeared to them in a visible way, like a kind, all-knowing, wise father. And they found the highest pleasure in conversation with Him - prayer.

Interesting fact

People were like angels, except for one very important feature: they did not have the opportunity to immediately, forever make a choice - whether to be with God or against Him. And, although they were completely free in this choice, they had yet to learn the love of God.

He could not and did not want to force people to love Himself, because real, sincere love is possible only with complete freedom, when the right to love or not to love is not limited by any prohibitions.

And then, in order to teach people this love, God gave them only one restriction of complete heavenly bliss, just one small commandment: not to eat fruits from the one and only plant in Eden, the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” from him” (Gen. 2:17).

But at the instigation of the devil, who seduced them with his sophisticated and sweet speeches, they transgressed this easy, small commandment and committed the first sin.

Orthodox Life

Answered by Andrey Muzolf, teacher at the Kyiv Theological Academy.

From the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament we know that man, having been created by God at the completion of all creation, was placed by the Creator in special conditions: for man to inhabit, God created a special place on earth - paradise. Thus, the book of Genesis says the following: “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man whom he had created” (Genesis 2:8). And, in fact, the only condition for the stay of the first parents in paradise was obedience, expressed in the fulfillment of one single commandment - not to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Speaking about this tree, the holy fathers usually agree that its fruits were not something unusual or even deadly. Adam and Eve, having tasted these fruits, became mortal not at all because such was the property of the fruit, but because, having violated the commandment of God, they thereby fell away from the only Source of eternal life - God, and therefore could not continue to be immortal.

When discussing the fall of our ancestors, the question involuntarily arises: why did they still violate God’s commandment? Were they missing something?

According to the thoughts of the holy fathers, in paradise Adam and Eve had the greatest treasure that is only available to man - the opportunity for direct communication with God. The ancestors did not lack anything, therefore, they did not have any internal necessity or predisposition to the Fall. And yet they sinned. Why? The wise Solomon writes in one of his books: “through the envy of the devil, death entered the world” (Wis. 2:24). The devil, being “a liar and the father of lies,” as well as “a murderer from the beginning” (see: John 8:44), could not bear to contemplate the bliss of the first people in paradise and planned to tear them away from God, just as he himself had previously fell away from Him. But at the same time, despite the fact that the temptation to sin came from the devil himself, we should not try to remove responsibility for the Fall from the first parents themselves. No matter how strong this temptation was, the devil did not force Adam and Eve to sin, but only persuaded and pushed them to violate the commandment. This means that the guilt for the transgression of the Divine commandment lies entirely with Adam and Eve, who from the very moment of creation had free will.

The book of Genesis says that first Eve succumbed to the temptation of the devil in the form of the serpent, and then, following the convictions of his wife, Adam also sinned. Why is this so? Why does the devil decide to begin his temptation with Eve? Saint Ambrose of Milan answers this question as follows: “The devil did not first plan to attack Adam, but to try to entangle Adam through his wife. He did not approach Adam first, who accepted the heavenly commandment with his heart, but to her who was taught to keep the commandment not by God, but by her husband. For it is not written that God spoke to the woman, but that He spoke to Adam; and therefore it should be assumed that the woman learned about the commandment from her husband.”

The third chapter of the book of Genesis describes the moment of the Fall as follows: “And the serpent said to the woman: Did God truly say: You shall not eat from any tree in the garden? And the woman said to the serpent: We can eat fruit from the trees, only from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God said, do not eat it or touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, “No, you will not die, but God knows that in the day that you eat of them, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5). It is very interesting that the devil not only tempts Eve to break the commandment, but at the same time slanders God. And the fact that Eve accepts the devil’s slander suggests that, unfortunately, Eve did not grow in love for God, but her love and devotion to the Heavenly Father gradually weakened and faded away. Saint Philaret of Moscow notes that the thought of the severity of the commandment and the fear of death was already beginning to overshadow in his wife the feeling of love and reverence for God. However, although she was imperfect in the love of God, she was nevertheless filled with love for the world. This is clearly visible in her words and actions. Therefore, the new idea of ​​the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, received from the devil, does not frighten her; moreover, she sincerely wants to share her “joy” with her husband. It cannot be said that Eve was generally alien to love for her Creator, but, apparently, in paradise her love gradually took on distorted forms - her love for the world began to surpass her love for God.

Having violated God’s commandment, Eve hurries to her husband so that he too follows her example: “And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes and desirable because it gave knowledge; and she took of its fruit and ate; And she gave it also to her husband, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6). Thus, we see that first Eve, succumbing to the temptations of the serpent-devil, violates the Divine commandment, and then Adam, following the example of his wife, eats the forbidden fruit. Whose sin is greater?

According to the remark of one of the interpreters of Holy Scripture A.P. Lopukhin, Adam’s sin is much greater than Eve’s sin, because the wife was tempted by the devil himself, and Adam violated the commandment only following the example of Eve: “if Eve in the fall, to some extent, was excused by her comparative natural weakness, an exaggerated formal and purely external idea of commandments, and finally, a direct sensory impression from the tree, then Adam, who received a formidable commandment from God himself and who himself experienced so many manifestations of divine love, did not have any circumstances mitigating his guilt, so that his sin is a purely spiritual crime and is more serious than the sin of Eve "

But why didn't Adam reject Eve's proposal? Didn't he realize the severity of the consequences? Some interpreters admit: he was aware, but his love for Eve turned out to be greater than his love for God. In love, God has provided a certain hierarchy, and its violation can cause sin. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ says: “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).

The position of his wife for Adam became more important than the word of God, and this speaks only of one thing: he loved her more than God. Therefore, when the choice arose between his wife’s proposal and God’s commandment, Adam took the wife’s side. Thus, Blessed Augustine believes that Adam understood what was happening, but violated God’s commandment because he did not want to be separated from his sinful wife. “The husband followed his wife,” he writes, “not because, having been deceived, he believed her as if speaking the truth, but because he submitted to her for the sake of the marital relationship. This means that he did not want to separate from the community with her even in sin.”

Thus, we see that the main reason for the fall of our first parents was their loss of love for their Creator. God creates man for eternal bliss, He does everything to ensure that man enjoys life, but man himself turns away from God and neglects His commandments. And if a person does not want to live with God, there is only one way out for him - in death and non-existence.

Vice: what is it from the point of view of Orthodoxy

What is meant in Orthodoxy by the concept of “Sin”? This is a thought, desire, or action (in some cases, inaction) that conflicts with God’s commandments, moral laws, and religious norms.

According to St. John of Damascus, “Sin is a voluntary deviation from that which is in accordance with nature into that which is unnatural (against nature).”

It is interesting to note that this word comes from the Greek “miss”, “shot wide of the target”. Thus, the sinner misses the purpose of human existence, falls short of his destiny to conform to the image and likeness of God.

Sin, settling in the human soul, gives rise to illusions in it:

  • Freedom,
  • Knowledge,
  • Pleasure.

By flouting generally accepted rules, the sinner imagines himself free from restrictions (religious, social, family rules), but he falls into a much greater, slavish dependence on his sinful lusts and actions. Hiding behind the acquisition of new knowledge, the sinner simply justifies his true goals: to develop pride, to satisfy lust, to gain new pleasures.

He cannot understand that satisfaction from sin each time gives rise to new, even greater lusts, which again require new pleasures. This is akin to the desire of a drug addict who increases the dose each time to achieve new pleasures.

The Creation of Adam and Eve, the Fall, Expulsion from Paradise. Middle composition of the northern altar door of the Annunciation Cathedral in Solvychegodsk.

And until there is complete awareness of one’s sin, repentance for it, an all-consuming desire to cleanse oneself, to reconcile with the Divine will, there will be no return to God.

And then action is necessary: ​​the sinner must resolutely give up sinful habits: the fornicator must lead a chaste life, the drunkard must give up wine, the glutton must eat in moderation, the lover of anger must acquire humility, and so on.

The sacrament of church repentance, communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ, and churching are necessary. Only along such a narrow, thorny path can one find the path to God again.

Didn’t God act cruelly towards the people whom He Himself created?

God did everything to help His creatures. Firstly, he gave them the opportunity to immediately repent, first asking Adam (who was hiding from God, just like a naughty child): Adam, where are you?.. Have you not eaten from the tree from which I forbade you to eat? (Genesis 3:9, 11). And then - from the wife: What did you do? (Genesis 3:13). But people were not ready to take responsibility: Adam put all the blame on his wife, and the wife on the serpent. And then the situation deteriorated completely. It became difficult for people to be close to God, His presence became unbearable for them, and expulsion from paradise became a natural way out: God had mercy and let people go, making them free, including from Himself. This is second.

There is also a third thing. Many holy fathers - from Blessed Augustine to Saint Philaret (Drozdov) - repeated the idea: having expelled a person from paradise, God blocked his access to the heavenly tree of life, eating the fruits of which he could live forever. This tree of life, according to the interpretation of St. John of Damascus, was the very opportunity to contemplate God, lost with the Fall. But even here God took care of man: after all, having acquired the experience of evil and at the same time being immortal, he would become worse and worse - and so on ad infinitum! Having separated Adam and his wife from eternal life, God set limits to the spread of evil, which primarily harmed the person himself. He tore man out of the evil infinity of “improvement” in evil. This idea was wonderfully expressed by the Russian theologian of the first half of the 20th century, Vladimir Lossky: “It is better for a person to die, that is, to be separated from the tree of life, than to consolidate his monstrous position in eternity. His very mortality will awaken in him repentance, that is, the possibility of new love.” And finally, even releasing a person from Himself, the Lord utters comforting words: the time will come, and from the line of Adam and Eve will come the Savior, the “seed of the woman,” who will bruise the serpent—that is, the devil—to the very head (cf. Gen. 3:15) . This means that expulsion from paradise and death are not forever.

How did the first people sin?

The sin of the first people in Paradise led to a distortion of man's relationship with God. Adam and Eve, seduced and succumbing to temptation, began to perceive the forbidden fruit (not necessarily an apple) only as a “thing for themselves”, and not an object of God’s commandment. That is, Eve, succumbing to the devil’s temptation, began to see in the forbidden fruits not what they really are, but what she herself desired:

  • It is good for food, has a wonderful taste, since it is prohibited! This is the lust of the flesh;
  • How beautiful he is, pleasing to the eye. This is the lust of sight, the desire for pleasure;
  • Giving new knowledge, the same as that of God (according to her understanding). This is the pride of life.

It must be well understood that Adam and Eve did not sin in Eden in a carnal way. God Himself commanded them to be fruitful and multiply, and in no way hindered physical intimacy. The essence of original sin was that they violated the commandment, the agreement with the Creator, in their proud desire to become equal to God.

This is precisely the thought that the enemy instilled in Eve: you will be like gods, you will know everything yourself! Thus, the greatest sin of pride, which had previously seduced Dennitsa to rebellion against God, turning him into Satan, a hater of all people, was transferred to the Ancestors and accepted by them.

Biography of Adam

The body of the progenitor was created from the same material as animals. Therefore, the structure of the body is almost the same. But man differs from them in that he is gifted with a soul, the ability to think and speak. The soul contains the human essence, which the Bible says is “ created in the image of God .”

There is little information about the life of Adam in the Divine Book. You can find more information in other theology books. According to this information, Adam was a giant while he lived in the Garden of Eden. But after the expulsion, his height decreased greatly.

The first man was wise and could speak 70 languages ​​of the world. During his stay in Eden, he knew everything that awaited humanity in the future, having read the book of human destinies.

Virtues of Adam

During Adam's stay in Paradise, he was endowed with all the virtues, since all his thoughts were only about serving the Almighty. Love and compassion for one's neighbor are the most basic qualities of the first person, which forever remained in demand and perfected.

Faith and hope are virtues that the forefather of mankind possessed in an absolute state from the first days. Without seeing the Creator, he believed in his power and hoped for bliss in life and the achievement of his goals.

The first man had inherent virtues that remained inactive during his innocence. But after committing the first sin, they manifested themselves in full:

  • repentance;
  • shame;
  • sorrow;
  • guilt.

All these honesties are characteristic of decent people when committing the slightest offense to this day.

To control passions, Adam possessed such virtues as restraint, moderation, courage . Thanks to them, you can overcome fear, be moderate in your desires, and courageously strive for victories.

The progenitor of humanity was endowed by the Almighty with all the virtues. He could use some initially, others became more active after the Fall.

Adam's sins

Before talking about Adam's sins, we need to consider the commandments of the Lord that were given to him. Reading the Divine Book superficially, people believe that there was one single commandment “not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Sin and Evil,” which was soon violated by the first people.

One of God's commandments was to address Adam and Eve. “Be fruitful and multiply,” said the Lord, settling them in Paradise. Thus, Adam's family life is not a sin, because he and his wife received a blessing. Casual relationships that occur outside of marriage are considered vicious.

The second commandment given to Adam is: “By the sweat of your brow you shall till the land.” Thus, the Lord blessed the ancestor for his work. Having settled the man in the Gardens of Eden, God ordered him to protect it and keep it in order .

According to the Bible, the first man was initially created outside of Paradise, and only later was he settled there. In the Gardens of Eden, life proceeded without fuss, pain and sorrow. Thus, not all the earth was fertile for people. The blessed place had its boundaries.

The work of the first man was blessed by the Almighty, thus he will be different from the animal. In your work you can get joy from the result obtained. If you receive all the benefits as a gift, it becomes destructive for the human soul and can cause only vices.

The Church a positive attitude towards work, but at the same time, hard work is considered a cruel punishment that can turn a person into an animal that blindly follows the orders of its masters.

The next commandment says: “Six days you shall do, and the seventh day is the Sabbath for the Lord your God.” Thus, the Almighty commanded Adam and his descendants to work throughout the week, and on the seventh day to rest from righteous labors and spend their free time in prayers to the Creator.

Having settled Adam in the Gardens of Eden, the Almighty gave one more commandment - to give names to all the animals that were there. By naming animals, man gained the opportunity to lead them. In addition, God said to give names to the angels. After that they began to serve humanity.


This sin is revealed as original because it became the root of all other sins. Without it, neither adultery, nor theft, nor murder, nor other violations of the commandments would have appeared.

It became the basis and cause of damage to the entire nature of man, his soul and body. And all the seed of Adam, his descendants and the foremother Eve carry within them the sprouts of original sin: bad will, weakness under the influence of demons, readiness to carry out their unclean instructions.

The only one of all who escaped the manifestation of original sin in himself was the God-man Jesus Christ, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, combined in Himself two principles, Divine and human, and therefore did not carry within Himself the seed of this sin.

The Catholic Church claims that the Virgin Mary did not inherit this damage to nature, like the Infant God, and was thereby freed from original sin. This is the so-called Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, according to which the Mother of God does not carry it within Her, despite the fact that she was conceived by Her parents naturally.

The Fall of the First People in Paradise

This dogma was proclaimed in 1854, and states that this non-involvement was granted to Her from birth, on account of the future merits of Christ the Redeemer. While in Orthodoxy we deeply reverence Her personal sinlessness, at the same time accepting the understanding that She is not deprived of the action of original sin.

Thus, all people, all descendants of the Ancestors, conceived in the usual way, without the participation of Divine powers, bear the mark of original sin, and must make considerable efforts to resist hostile spirits that in every possible way attract to evil, prompting the sinful nature to commit direct sinful action.

Betrayal in paradise

Photo: Flickr.com
The devil, who was guided by the lowest feelings - envy, anger, meanness - decided to once again harm the Lord by showing him that his creatures are imperfect. That a man and a woman will easily decide to betray the relationship that connected them with the Creator. And with his characteristic meanness and cunning, he entered into the image of a serpent, who was considered wise and, in modern language, solid, the creation of the Lord.

In this image, which did not arouse suspicion, he began to seduce Eve, telling her that if she ate the apple of paradise, she would become equal to God. After this, the woman will be able to command not only her husband, but also the Creator himself and all the heavenly forces. The devil brazenly slandered God, completely openly lied, but she believed him. And since, nevertheless, she was afraid of becoming an outcast alone, she involved her husband in betrayal. And, having tasted the forbidden fruit, the first people immediately became mortal.


First of all, it manifested itself in the fact that Adam and Eve, created by God in His image and likeness, not previously distorted by original sin, after the Fall began to pass on this damage to their descendants. Adam gave birth to them no longer in God’s image and likeness, but in his own, distorted by the Fall.

And all of humanity was born affected by this disease, no matter how sinless they were in themselves! You can often hear from people of little faith: “Adam sinned: what do I have to do with it?” It was said by the righteous Job: “Who will be clean from filth? No one else, even if he lived only one day on earth” (Job 14:4-5). That is, even a baby who has just been born and has not had time to sin in any way already bears the mark of original sin!

Therefore, the Orthodox Church considers it advisable to baptize newly born babies, without waiting for them to reach the age of reason, as some adherents of heretical teachings do. The heredity of original sin is a given that cannot be avoided, but can be corrected by accepting Holy Baptism and becoming a church member.

Garden of Eden

Almost every decade, scientists discover more and more new locations. But in the Bible the origin of Adam and Eve, as well as their places of stay, is described quite clearly. There are references to the area, recognizable toponyms. They are mostly attributed specifically to modern Ethiopia.

There is also a description of four rivers, among which there is a mention of the Tigris and Euphrates. That is why most travelers think that nowadays they are more likely to find the valley of these rivers. Among several options for finding these places, none has any significant evidence.

If the Ancestors had not sinned?

God created man in His image and likeness, and, therefore, gave them free will. Initially, people were created not as puppets, whose behavior and reactions are completely controlled by their creator, but as beings who choose without coercion, feel freely, and show their love according to their own understanding.

It didn’t cost Almighty God anything to destroy the devil’s machinations, to appear at the right moment, to warn Adam and Eve, and even simply to forbid them to eat the forbidden fruit. Then there would have been no Fall, people would have continued to live in Paradise, remaining just as sinless and pure, in unity with God, their Creator and father.

Would that be good? No, it's not good! A person deprived of choice becomes a slave. If God, by His will, had stopped the temptation of the Ancestors, they would have lost their choice, and they would have had no love for the Creator, and no obedience for the sake of this love, but only a mechanical prohibition, the inability to sin due to external circumstances.

After all, He gave the simple commandment specifically for love, free will, when you don’t want to break it or sin, so as not to upset the One who gave it. After all, it would be much easier to hide the Tree of Knowledge in some inaccessible corner, preventing the opportunity to pick the forbidden fruit.

But even if this is done, wouldn’t the enemy of the human race come up with other temptations in which to sin? And the Creator would have to watch his children all the time, constantly forbidding them to do anything? What kind of love is this...

For the same reason, God did not “mechanically” return people to their original state, as if destroying their sin, giving them the opportunity to “start from scratch.” A person should not have sinned of his own free will, and not out of fear of punishment, or out of inability to commit a sin.

Biography of Eva

The Creator took the material for creating a woman from the body of her husband. They used a rib bone. Therefore, Eve became Adam's wife, helper and friend. Her name means that she is the mother of all living people on the planet.

The first woman on earth obeyed the tempter serpent and tasted the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She persuaded Adam to take a bite of the forbidden fruit.

The fall of the first people caused their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. As punishment for her act, the first woman was told to give birth to children in pain. Modern men, who are reputed to be misogynists, blame Eve for the Fall and the loss of the opportunity to live in the Gardens of Eden.

On the other hand, the first woman is recognized not only as the foremother of all humanity, but also as the personification of all the honors and virtues that are characteristic of the female sex.

Virtues of Eve

Eve's virtues can be divided into two lists. The first indicates the honors that were given to the first woman and were constantly used by her:

  • prudence;
  • courage;
  • justice;
  • moderation;
  • faith;
  • hope;
  • Love.

The virtues indicated in the second list became inherent only after the Fall had occurred. These include:

  1. Chastity. This virtue is not only opposed to physical vices . This includes the spiritual purity of a Christian and the integrity of his personality.
  2. Moderation. It must be manifested in the impulse of your desires.
  3. Love, faith and hope. Love, as a virtue, should be directed towards God, wife and neighbor. Faith can bring a person closer to God.
  4. Zeal. It is necessary in good deeds.
  5. Mercy. Shows compassion for people and animals in need. It should not be limited to charity.
  6. Patience. A person needs it to get rid of difficulties. And Eve also had to patiently endure all the difficulties that befell her after the Fall.
  7. Kindness.
  8. Humility. This is a virtue that will help you overcome your pride and get closer to the Almighty.
  9. Jealousy. This is a virtue that means a decision made to serve the Almighty and to be aloof from evil.

All these virtues were laid down by God during the creation of the first woman.

Sins of Eve

Eve's sin was disobedience to the Lord. Yielding to temptation, she took a bite of the forbidden fruit, and persuaded Adam to do the same act. This is not the only sin that the foremother of all humanity committed. In a dialogue with the tempter, she distorts God’s command not to eat the forbidden apple, saying that the commandment was “not to eat or touch the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Eve sinned twice. Her first sin is Lying .

Because the man and woman did not obey the commandment, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden and could no longer return there. In addition, Eve was told to give birth to her offspring in severe pain.

The Bible says about this: “He said to the woman: I will multiply your sorrow in your pregnancy; in illness you will give birth to children; and your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (Chapter 3:16)

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