I frequently hear that the Genesis account is sexual in nature. Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote, “According to the Talmud and the Midrash, the corruption was all sexual.” And a friend told me that one Catholic theologian (maybe Scott Hahn?) said that God demanded circumcision as a reminder to all men that this is what got you into this mess. Could someone spell out for me how the Genesis account of the fall relates to sex/lust?
I’ve never heard that the fall was related to lust, least of all from a Catholic theologian. From what I understand the fall was due to the sin of pride, the desire to be like God.
Genesis 3:5-6 “…The serpent said to the woman ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”
This is not what the Catholic Church teaches. The fall of man occurred because our first parents had an opportunity to submit their lives to God, and chose instead to believe the lies of the devil that we can be our own gods.
As you point out, it is the serpent in the story who says the “you will be like God” part.
But it looks like Eve ate the fruit for* other* reasons, as per the scripture;
1–because it was good food and pleasing, as God had told them, and…
2–because she wanted to be a wise person.
She didn’t want to be like God, she wanted to be wise.
Does God not want people to be wise?
All of humanity falls and is condemned forever because Eve thought being wise would be considered a good thing?
Pride and disobedience. God told them not to touch the fruit of that tree and they did it anyway. Got their little fingers burned.
I think this comes from the translations out of the Masoretic Text, I don’t agree with it one whit, for the simple reason Eve had no clue what it meant “to have the knowledge of good and evil” and you can’t desire something you haven’t seen and can’t understand.
The LXX has “beautiful to contemplate”, Jerome Vulgate and Douay-Rheims have “delectable to behold” (or its Latin equivalent) for the questionable passage and two of these are based on Hebrew texts older to much older than the Masoretic Text and the third is based on the Vulgate but is informed by the LXX.
Eve eats the fruit because she looks at it with her senses: “she saw the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes and delectable to behold.” And finding it pleasing to her senses, she prefers them to God’s command, so Eve’s sin is a sin of unchasity which is of the same nature as Lust, but not Lust per se.
With respect to Lust specifically. St. Augustine states in City of God (Book 14, Chapter 17)
[quote=St. Augustine]And therefore, being ashamed of the disobedience of their own flesh, which witnessed to their disobedience while it punished it, “they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons,” that is, cinctures for their privy parts; for some interpreters have rendered the word by succinctoria. Campestria is, indeed, a Latin word, but it is used of the drawers or aprons used for a similar purpose by the young men who stripped for exercise in the campus; hence those who were so girt were commonly called campestrati. Shame modestly covered that which lust disobediently moved in opposition to the will, which was thus punished for its own disobedience.
So Adam and Eve immediately fell into Lustful thoughts upon eating the fruit.
It isn’t not about lust, but it isn’t exclusively about lust. All sin is about deviation from God’s will and instead following our own designs. The 2nd part of St JPII’s Theology of the Body goes into detail about the condition of mankind after the Fall, and how it becomes difficult for husband and wife to fully self-donate themselves as they ought too. The goal instead becomes possession in the selfish or sometimes even malevolent sense , which when we talk about the human body, we call lust.
This is why when we talk about demons in relation to people, we call them possessions, but when we talk about angels in relation to people, we call them guardians. The same distinction exists for righteous or wicked men.
The circumcision of the male generative organ wasn’t meant as a mark of shame, or a scornful reminder. All covenants between man and God are made to bring God and man together. That is why the veil of the man is removed, so that he is exposed. Spousal relationships are an ongoing analogy used between God and man throughout the prophetic books and into the New Testament.
There is nothing in Catholic teaching supporting this notion. The original sin was simply disobedience of Gods will, nothing more or less. Lust is relatively benign compared to that, a simple enough abuse of a natural bodily appetite.
Lust is neither benign or simple.
I agree with the others, the Fall had to do with Adam and Eve wanting to be gods themselves, wanting to know what God knows. It had nothing at all to do with lust or sex.
It’s very simple-and quite destructive. The initial sin of disobedience was much worse tho. It actually opened the door for all other sins-such as lust.
In the Douay-Rheims it says “you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” I think that would at least inspire curiosity, which is the beginning of desire.
With respect to Lust specifically. St. Augustine states in City of God (Book 14, Chapter 17) So Adam and Eve immediately fell into Lustful thoughts upon eating the fruit.
But that’s after eating the apple, not the cause of it.
I think Trevor Dewey’s comments on the different Bible texts are helpful.
I think the dynamics of the situation were as follows:
Satan was the foremost and most magnificent of all the angels. But he wanted to be self-serving. He then exhibited a trait of wanting to drag others into doing the same. He also exhibited a trait of moving the goalposts in mid-issue.
He knew senses were a big thing with humans so that gave him the idea for an opening - getting the human beings to look at issues more shallowly and disjointedly than God was calling them to, while making out that the opposite was the case.
The story represents Adam and Eve as having fellowship with God but not having developed into all the fulness of their calling yet.
(It depicts the early time of humanity, whether that lasted moments, or years!)
Thus Daddy Girl (your post 4) because of all sorts of knock-on effects we experience this issue poignantly as we all know.
Not only was there further revelation by God to Adam, and to Cain after he had commited murder, and so many times to so many people, and acting in their lives. Then when Jesus came as foretold by the Old Testament Scriptures He sent the Holy Spirit and can indwell in us, making our destined calling feasible.
Presumably the point about lust (fhansen) is that we know when we’ve been into it. Priding ourselves on our cleverness just when succumbing to manipulativeness is something we don’t so easily notice ourselves doing, or would like to kid ourselves we haven’t.
I don’t think it was quite as innocent as that.
Eve knew there was ONLY ONE COMMAND. Not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge (not even to touch it!)
This command came from God her creator. Eve was in a state of pure holiness and without any sin or concupiscence.
By listening to the suggestion of the serpent Eve thereby:
Mistrusted what God told her.
Suspected God was trying to “hold her down.”
Broke her avenue of grace, that was usually present.
In pride decided to do what SHE wanted to do.
Finally committing herself to her opposition to God by actually eating the fruit.
Drawing in her spouse Adam to commit the same sin.
Of all humanity, no one had LESS reason to sin against God than Adam and Eve.
God did not “set Eve up” for a fall. Her sin was a lack of Faith, Hope and Charity in God. She compounded the sin by scandalizing Adam and enlisting his cooperation in the sin. (Adam is just as guilty as Eve, but there is nothing mitigating or innocent about Eve’s sin either.)
That is not a teaching of the Catholic church. The sins were pride and disobedience. There are some individuals geologist that came out that the sin was sexual in nature but that is not what the church teaches. Saint Pope John Paul 2 made a very good explanation of Adam and Eve`s sin in humans vitae (if I am correct) so I would suggest to read what he wrote so you can understand it better.
Moreover, God never said that the forbidden fruit was good fruit. He told them that if they ate from it they were going to die. She rather to listen to the snake (you will be like God) and do what she wanted instead of obeying God.
If I remember correctly, Scott Hahn said this in reference to Abraham, not to Adam and Eve. In Gen 15, God promises Abram will have many descendants, then in Gen 16 Abram has intercourse with his wife’s maid because his wife hasn’t born him any children, and then in Gen 17 God demands circumcision (as a response to Abraham’s sexual sin).
Was it a sexual sin? If I understand correctly Abraham’s having a son in this way was an acceptable practise in his day. I think his sin was not believing God’s word.
No Dr. Hahn does not say that as I recall…so do not ascribe that to him.
How is the fall of man related to lust?
Sexual lust began -* after* the fall.