Genesis 3; 4; 6:5-7:24; 11 In the Christian Context , we can gleam the following points: THE FALL AND OTHER SIN-STORIES
A. The Nature and Meaning of Sin. F irst, there is God’s command; and Sin is depicted as human disobedience of such command, a transgression against the will of God. By eating the forbidden fruit, man and woman disregarded the law of God.
“ S in is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so they are capable of loving Him and loving one another”. (CCC, 381)
T hough tempted, we are still intelligent and free. Sin is a choice not to follow the law of God, a choice to reject God in preference for evil…
… At the same time, sin is a desire for moral autonomy: “to be the ultimate judge of what moral good and evil would be”. (Flanagan, p.14)
I n other words, we set ourselves as “the sole and absolute criterion” of moral behavior… (Mesters, p. 14) … instead of submitting to God’s authority.
W e choose to violate the spiritual-moral order that God set for the universe and for us. Being creatures of God, we are dependent and subjected to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.
S in is occasioned by our ambition/pride to overstep our status as creature. It is the primordial sin of pride. We refuse to be mere human…
“ S educed by the devil, he wanted to be like God.” It is an act of preference for self over and against God. (CCC, 398)
1. Divine Alienation (Man/Woman from God) M an and woman were expelled from paradise. (Gen. 3:24) B. Consequences of Sin
O ur act of disobedience has caused the loss of the original state of friendship with God. (Rom. 3:23) This intimacy with God has become a thing of the past.
A s a result, “death” (a symbol of the loss of the gift of eternal life) makes its entrance into human history. (CCC, 400)
“ D ust you are and unto dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19) We have become mortal. As St. Paul said: “through one man… sin entered the world, and through sin death”. (Rom. 5:12)
2. Human Self-Alienation (Man/Woman from self). W e begin to experience disharmony within. “… The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered.” (CCC, 400)
O ur defiant act brings in its train a sense of guilt, a profound sense of shame, the futile effort to hide from the presence of God…
“ T he man and his wife hid themselves from God, among the trees of the garden”. (Gen. 3:8) Anxiety, loss of inner peace and suffering enter the scenario of human existence.
3. Social Alienation (Man/Woman from each other). Sin destroys the harmony between man and woman. “ The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions; their relations, therefore, marked by lust and domination.” (CCC, 400)
T he disharmony with the human family is best shown in the Story of Can and Abel (Gen. 4) . Cain represents people who mistreat or kill their fellow human beings…
… The account teaches that after the sin against God, there follows the sin against the fellow. When the rights of God are not respected, the rights of human beings are not safe;…
… when love of God is gone, the love of neighbor is no longer safe. And so brother kills brother. (Flanagan, p.16)
I n many families today all over the world, disharmony is manifested in many cases of domestic violence such as child abuse, battered wives and sometimes battered husbands and parricide. Thus, shattered marriages and broken families are widespread.
The Story of the Great Deluge (Gen. 6:5-7:24) demonstrates that evil has becomes widespread and has afflicted an entire society, an entire nation and even the entire world.
T here is an alarming increase in violence and corruption. The great flood symbolizes the natural consequences of evil. There is so much chaos and disorder.
“ I f you’ve ever been in a flood, you know it’s chaotic. The orderliness of life is destroyed; everything we’ve worked for is wiped out…
T he harmony of life is destroyed; everything we’ve worked for becomes senseless. ‘ Worst, human lives are destroyed.’ Clearly, human wickedness reaps its own self-destruction. (Rohr & Martos, p.91)
4. National/International Alienation (nation from nation). The Story of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11) may be read as a typical example for a further mal-development of fallen humankind.
T he villain is the sin of pride which is an unbridled drive for power and self-sufficiency. United pride results in divided humankind.
T he tower may be seen as a symbol of human pride. This has reference to the “ziggurats,” those step-like towers in honor of the ancient gods of Mesopotamia.
The account gives a picture of the ugliness of pride and its damaging effects : H uman pride makes us forget our existential dependence on God. Humankind’s achievements / success in science and technology make us vainly aware of our power and cause us to think that we have no need for God… a.
… We can make it on our own and even surpass God’s power. This is the glaring scenario in the world today.
A ware of our genius, scientific know-how and enormous resources, we think that we can achieve progress w/o the help of God. We rely more on political and military alliances to ensure security and peace.
H uman pride germinates the seed of division and confusion. It is not the intention of the author to give an explanation of the origin of the many different languages and dialects of the world. b.
H e merely stresses the point that no one can understand… the language of pride. Because of pride men and nations become strangers to one another.
P ride makes communication and relationships among men very difficult, if not impossible. (Luc Colla, p.21) With this scenario, humanity starts to disintegrate.
T his becomes impossible for people to live together and act in common. This is the prevailing situation today, thus, men and nations wage war against each other and the cycle of violence continues w/o let up.
More concretely, because of pride: our desire for cooperation leads to competition. Our striving for unity leads to disunity. Our desire for success leads to failure. Whenever some groups think they have it all together, they alienate other people, and the struggle for power within the group itself leads to dissention . (Rohr & Martos, p. 93)
Genesis 3; 4; 6:5-7:24; 11 In the Christian Context , we can gleam the following points: 4. Meaning of Original Sin
It dates back to the origin of the human race. a. “ All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: ‘By one man’s disobedience, many (that is, all men) were made sinners; ‘sin came into the world through one man and death through sin and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (CCC, 402; cf. Rom. 5:12, 19)
As sin, it is a state of fundamentally contrary to God’s will. b. Original sin has person and social dimensions. c.
1. Personal dimension. O riginal sin is the “common human tendency toward sinful desires, a weakness present from the beginning” (Boadt, p.121)
T his is the “heart of darkness” within us all – the inclination to sin. Because human nature is wounded and weakened, man/woman is inclined to evil.
T his is human nature in a fallen state transmitted by propagation to humankind by Adam and Eve. (CCC, 404, Council of Trent: DS 1511-1512)
2. Social dimension. “ O riginal sin is described as the state of sinfulness in which we are born as members of the human race” . (CFC, 300)
A ll of our personal sins “put the world in the sinful condition aptly described by St. John as ‘the sin of the world’”. (Jn. 1:29)
“ T his expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men’s sins”. (CCC, 408; cf. John Paul II, RP 16)
Actual sins relate to Original sin. d. “ S in affects us down to our very roots but it does not eliminate our capability for doing good. In so far as our personal sins multiply, we ratify that original sin.
W e eat the forbidden fruit and add to the ‘culpable evils’ of humanity. Future generations will inherit the evil we have helped to maintain and intensify”. (Mesters, p.19)
More than Original sin, there is Salvation. e. F or St. Paul, the affirmation of original sin reminds us of what is more essential. “ That we are all saved in Jesus Christ…” because we all need to be.
‘ W here sin abounded, grace abounded even more.’ “ That means that we have been given grace: sinners who have been reprieved”. (Charpentier, p.41)
T he reality of original sin is made clear to us Filipinos, by the two prominent aspects of our faith: infant baptism and our devotion to Mary and her Immaculate Conception. (CFC, 391-395)
After the fall, man and woman were not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls them and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and their restoration from their fall. (CCC, 410; cf. Gen. 3:9, 15)
I n the Christian context, this verse is traditionally referred to as the Proto-evangelium, the “First Gospel.” It is the first promise of redemption for fallen humankind. It is the first announcement of a battle between the serpent and the woman’s descendant:
I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will strike at your heel while you strike at his heel. (CCC, 410)
“ T he Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the ‘New Adam’ who because he ‘became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,’ “makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam”” (CCC, 411; cf. 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45; Phil. 2:8; Rom. 5:19-20)
T he new Adam is Jesus Christ, the woman’s offspring, who appeared that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 Jn 3:8) He is the obedient Son of God who died on the cross to save humankind from the bondage of sin.
A dam symbolizes man as a disobedient creature responsible for his fallen nature. “By his sin, Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings”. (CCC, 416)
M any Fathers and Doctors of the Church consider the woman as Mary, ‘the new Eve’ whose obedience to the will of God brought forth life as the Mother of Jesus Christ. (CCC, 411)
T he serpent is regarded as the devil whose eventful defeat is implied in the contrast between head and heel. (Wis. 2:24; Jn. 8:44; Rev. 12:9 and 20:2)
I n conclusion, humankind that “has fallen into slavery to sin… has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one…” (CCC, 421, cf. GS 2 § 2)
“ T he victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: ‘where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’”. (CCC, 420, cf. Rom. 5:20)