I believe current thinking is that Adam and Eve did not literally eat the forbidden fruit, but was there some primeval act that caused original sin?
Have you read Genesis 3? It’s a good place to start.
Generally “current thinking” is a term used to describe ideologies which somehow discredit or invalidate scripture, or undermine traditional theological teaching. With the minimal information you give, it appears this is true of the current thinking you mention as it would contradict what God has revealed to us.
Eating a piece of fruit is not really a sinful act itself. It was the acting out in “self will” rather than submitting to God’s will that was the issue. It is sort of the same challenge satan gave Christ during his time in the wilderness.
Thanks for the question.
p.s. Probably wasn’t an apple.
It wasn’t an apple. It was the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
It definitely wasn’t an apple. It was likely a fig, or a date, or an unknown fruit. extracanonical works say it was a clustered fruit growing on what looked like a tamarind tree.
Was it a literal fruit on a literal tree in a literal Garden of Eden? It’s possible. God could put all of that power into a fruit. One does not have to believe that it was literal to accept the doctrine of original sin, but it could be. I don’t think it was meant to be literal, but I accept that the mysteries of God are manifold.
I find it interesting that it was after that event when women started having increased pain in childbirth. Scientists also say this, without the fruit story or the garden, because they can’t prove that one way or the other. However, they do say that humans had what they call a “big brain event” about 30,000-60,000 years ago (depending on who you ask) which caused us to massively increase our cranial capacity, and therefore head-size. This increase in head size would certainly cause more pain in childbirth. So, science confirms a key part of it, without making a judgement call on whether there was a garden and a special fruit tree.
Even a child now knows that what they actually did was having sex.How much more evidence should God give to understand this? Suddenly feeling naked,curse that women will deliver with pain,everybody is ‘born’ with this sin(naturally!) etc.By just eating a fruit ,even if it is a disobedience to God, can’t have this type of effect where as having sex exactly bring these.Also note that serpent enticed Eve to do it .How? See ,Eve was naked.By accident or design because of the shape of the snake,it would have tried to be in contact with Eve which would have invoked some un experienced pleasure in Eve who then tried it with Adam ,thus both committing the original sin ! God knew that it would happen .That is why he was not unduly angry with them but even made clothes for them to cover. Also pl.note that it makes little difference to the subsequent events ,beliefs or faiths whether it was having sex or eating the fruit .So no need to make any hue and cry against this line of thinking.
So at one time, our heads were much smaller?
Yes, at least if you accept the fossil record. I don’t recall what percentage increase it was during the so-called “big brain event.” But it seems to match up with the Garden of Eden story, at least to some extent.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 390, says, “The account of the fall in *Genesis *3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.” (source)
It always angers me when someone says the first sin was having sex. :mad:
How could that be true?
God told A&E, “be fruitful & multiply.” No restriction!
After the serpent tempted Eve …she " saw the fruit of the tree was good for food & pleasing to the eye & desirable for gaining wisdom."
No sex even implied! So your statement, “Even a child now knows that what they actually did was having sex”, is ridiculous!
Can you explain the primeval event that is being affirmed?
Is the last sentence of paragraph 390 important?
The “primeval” or “ancient” event is the Fall of Mankind as mentioned in Genesis chapter 3.
From the earliest, even before the Church had canonized the Scriptures, the narrative of Genesis chapter 3 has been read not as literal history but as allegorical. St. Gregory Nazianzen (c.329-390) wrote that the fruit of the tree was “contemplation, which only those who have reached maturity of habit may safely take. But which is not good for those who are still somewhat simple and greedy.”
In other words, St. Gregory felt the narrative of the Fall was an allegory for the free exercise of conscience. Just as today the Church teaches we must never violate our conscience, this has often mistakenly been interpreted as meaning that we can do whatever we feel is right. This is highly incorrect and usually the understanding of someone untrained in Church teaching.
What the Church teaches about always following our conscience is that once a Christian is mature and well-taught, his or her conscience should be well-trained enough that they can “hear” or “feel” the guidance of the Holy Spirit or “hear the voice of God,” so to speak, acting as judge on which way to go in situations where the Church has not given explicit direction. St. Gregory states that Adam and Eve were decided into believing that their untrained conscience was their guide, even though they had not grown to the state of spiritual maturity where contemplation allows them to “hear the voice of God” on matters.
The Fall is not really about the eating of a fruit. It is explaining that since the beginning, mankind has been in the habit of listening to their own untrained conscience instead of taking direction from God. The narrative in Genesis does not literally describe how the Fall happened, and theories like St. Gregory’s commentary do not amount to dogmatic doctrinal statements either. What the Scriptures do tell us is that sin has been the problem between man and God since the start. It is not meant to tell us the “why” or “how” anymore than the first two previous chapters of Genesis is telling us the actual science of how the universe and the earth were literally created.
As for that last sentence in the paragraph in the CCC: “Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.” Yes, it is important.
It means that only by means of divine revelation, through the texts of further Scripture and especially from the teaching of Jesus and the Church by means of the Holy Spirit, we have come to learn that Genesis chapter 3 is describing the Fall of Man and the Original Sin.
This is important because the narrative in Genesis 3 was not originally understood in this manner until Christ had come. The doctrine of “Original Sin” only gradually came to light via the apostles and the Church Fathers. Judaism has no doctrine of “Original Sin” and therefore does not read the Scripture in Genesis this same way.
The sentence also means it is incorrect to declare that these teachings are immediately understood from a direct reading of these texts. It is not. Without the revelation the Church has received from Christ and the Holy Spirit, we would still be reading Genesis 3 as do the Jews to this day. One cannot read Genesis chapter 3 and immediately come to the conclusions the Church does without the divine revelation made possible through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In reality, the “event” of the Fall begins with the dramatic shift from Genesis 1: 25 to Genesis 1: 26-27.
Because the essential truth about the Fall is the original relationship between Divinity and humanity, we have to seek out the nature of the Divine God and the nature of the very first human creature on planet earth. The intelligent author of those valuable first three chapters of Genesis is up front about God’s nature in Genesis 1: 1. The following verses describe God as the Almighty Creator, one and only, God.
The first thing to notice is that the Creator God did not create a creature equal to Himself. Yet, He did create a creature who could share in His life because this unique human creature is in God’s image via a spiritual soul. Genesis 1: 26-27. Like the animals, Genesis 1: 28-31, this singular creature needs nourishment. Genesis 2: 15-17 – These major verses also present what turned out to be the course of Original Sin.
CCC 396 is not kidding. I put the key issue of Original Sin in bold.
CCC 396 God created man in His image and established Him in His friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” spells this out: “for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die.” The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.
In addition, there is this CCC paragraph. Please pay attention to the important words “Revelation gives us the certainty …” in the last sentence.
**CCC 390 **The account of the fall in *Genesis *3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.
It is essential that modern Catholics pay attention to both the CCC above and quotes from post 11.
From post 11
“The Fall is not really about the eating of a fruit. It is explaining that since the beginning, mankind has been in the habit of listening to their own untrained conscience instead of taking direction from God. The narrative in Genesis does not literally describe how the Fall happened, and theories like St. Gregory’s commentary do not amount to dogmatic doctrinal statements either.”
In post 11, CeelosDeynos is correct that “theories like St. Gregory’s commentary do not amount to dogmatic doctrinal statements either.”
Nonetheless, these following sentences (post 11) present tad contraction to the last sentence of 390.
“What the Scriptures do tell us is that sin has been the problem between man and God since the start. It is not meant to tell us the “why” or “how” anymore than the first two previous chapters of Genesis is telling us the actual science of how the universe and the earth were literally created.”
The above quote from post 11 is not exactly correct according to CCC 390. The last sentence of CCC 390 refers back to the beginning protocol of the visible Catholic Church on earth when all the theories, good, bad, indifferent, are studied backwards and forwards under the guidance of the promised Holy Spirit. (Chapter 14, Gospel of John) This is the main reason that some, not all, popular writers do not use the last sentence when they are trying to upset or improve Catholic doctrines.
To begin. CCC 390 does not refer to “What the Scriptures do tell…” It is specific. The “why” and “how” are explained in the specific Genesis chapters 1 and 2 which precede the real action in chapter 3. The CCC Index of Citations, page 689, has a list of verses in the amazing explanatory Genesis chapters 1-3 which lead to Catholic doctrines.
The basic foundation of Catholicism flows from the first three chapters of Genesis.
If Adam is not the true original first fully-complete, decomposing anatomy and spiritual rational soul, human, then the fully-complete Divinity of Jesus Christ is not entirely necessary.
The last sentence of CCC 389
CCC **389 **The Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.
My apology. I need to correct a typo in my post 13.
This section should read:
In post 11, CeelosDeynos is correct that “theories like St. Gregory’s commentary do not amount to dogmatic doctrinal statements either.”
Nonetheless, these following sentences (post 11) present a tad contradiction to the last sentence of 390.
No one really knows -literally- whether they chomped an apple or not. None of us were there.
Scripture speaks literally. It is a work of Inspired literature. Every word accomplishes it’s purpose. But that doesn’t mean it is rigidly historical and scientific.
The salvific truth of the passage is communicated whether or not your history mystery can be solved.
For people who struggle with Genesis, Theology of the Body by St John Paul 2 gives these passages a wonderful exposition. The historicity of the passages is not even an issue for St John Paul 2, yet he gleans profound truth from them.
- of good and evil-.
The passage does not refer to knowledge itself. God communicates himself to us, we are invited to have knowledge of him. Knowing is a good thing.
We are not invited to determine morality for ourselves and have a false knowledge. They chose to rebel and make their own determinations rather than listen to God. They deceived themselves that they knew good and evil better than God.
In the Catholic Church, there are explicit Divinely revealed doctrines which directly flow from the specific first three chapters of the book of Genesis. These particular doctrines are based on historical events such as the appearance (space and time) of the first original fully-complete individual human lovingly known as Adam. Another historical event is the free disobedience of Adam known as the real Original Sin.
The literal interpretation of any scripture passage is what the author is teaching us, and not whether it is historical or factual or fictional or … We know that he was teaching us; that we, the human race, had one set of parents from which all human life originated. And that these parents disobeyed God thru pride committing the first sin. Which sin lost for them the grace of God(heaven), his supernatural/preternatural gifts, and the ease of living in this world(paradise).
But what they did to commit sin is not precisely known, but described as eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the center of the garden.
This sin of eating points to the fact that man decides what is right and wrong, and not God. He rebells against God’s right as creator to determine right and wrong, to follow God’s direction. This was based on the sin of pride, the same as the angel’s rebellion of pride.
Some might think that God should not have given Adam this chance for the fall away. But as a man has reason and freewill by right of his nature, there isn’t anyway around this. Man must make decisions just because that is him. He makes decisions all his life … inescapable. Decisions like what should I wear today, or what job should I pursue, or what neighborhood should I live in, what religion, what bank, what cereal, what sport, and “what” goes on and on many times every day. And so it is that man must also make moral decisions like whether I will study for the exam or not, to pay my bills on time or not, to watch porn or not, to steal money lying around or not, or … We as human beings are confronted with moral decisions many times, and there is no way we can escape making these moral decisions…it is either “yes” or “no”.
So sooner or later, Adam had to make a moral decision, and in this decision is the question of whether to follow God’s will or not. And in the garden of Eden, Adam rebelled making his decision in accord with God’s will.
But having said all that, if a person decides to see the Eden story in a very factual/historical way, then so be it, and God love you.
“Bring us back, O God of hosts: let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.”
For our faith the central and critical aspect of Adam & Eve’s act was disobedience of God.. This was the first sin; this placed them in a* state* of sin, by their own choice outside of His will and thus alienated from Him. And this same disordered state is the one which we all inherit.now.
Well, the scripture says that they did eat the forbidden fruit, i.e., from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.