When did "the fall" affect the whole world, or did it?

Is the imperfection of the universe, such as mortality in general, a result of human sin, as I’ve seen many people suggest? If so, does that mean it applied retroactively before there were humans, like how God preserved Mary of sin before Jesus actually died?
I’ve heard some people say “no death before the fall” really means “no spiritual death before the fall.” But then other people take it to mean nothing could have died before Adam and Eve sinned.

St. Paul addresses this:

Romans 8[19] For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God;
[20] for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope;
[21] because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
[22] We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now.

Humankind was meant to be immortal in the flesh but when Adam and Eve fell from grace death became their, and our, lot. The rest of creation went through, and still goes through, the normal cycles of life and death. We know that Eve understood the concept of death because she never questioned what that was when she was tempted, nor did she or Adam question the concept of death when God told them not to eat of the tree of good and evil or they would die. So, they must have witnessed the cycle of life and death in nature around them. However, St. Paul tells us that this cycle will end when Christ returns because God will create a new heavens and a new earth in which death has no place.

Thank you. :slight_smile:

You’re welcome :tiphat:

Yes human sin caused death and decay for all creation, however this was probably applied retroactively.

How does something die retroactively?

St. Athanasius, among others, does not appear to regard other earthly creatures as immortal by nature.

“What are you still doing here? You died three millennia ago.”

“I did? Oh. Sorry.”


I was wondering about that too :eek: :confused:

Sarah x :slight_smile:

Since God is outside time it is not impossible for an act to have an effect on event which precedes it in time. If this principle were incorrect then no one could have received any form of grace during the Old Testament.

This does not apply to the natural world but only in regards to our salvation. Jesus died once for all. But God did not go back and kill millions of creatures after Adam and Eve fell. Think about it, how could they have eaten any fruit if it was never meant to died? It’s in the nature of fruit to shelter seeds until the fruit is eaten or dies to release the seeds–that’s how fruit works in the natural world. Otherwise, it would have remained alive in Adam and Eve’s stomachs and given them no nourishment. The world would have been overpopulated with creatures of all kinds. And the fossil record tells us that creatures lived and died.

We do not have to believe that nothing died until Adam and Eve fell. That is not Church teaching. When the Church says that death entered the world with the fall of Adam and Eve it means our death–human death, not death as a natural event in nature.

I was speaking of animals (which can experience pain of sense), not plants. Think about it this way, the Catechism states that it is a sin to deliberately cause an animal to suffer or die unnecessarily, from this it can be deduced that the suffering or death of an animal is a physical evil. Now, the fall was logically (but not necessarily chronologically) prior to the existence of physical evil, therefore animals would not have suffered or died had the fall not occurred. Remember that one thing can be logically prior to another while following it chronologically.

Maybe it just means that knowledge of Evil, the death and pain of our bodies, put men under such a death sentence that they were effectively dead by virtue of merely thinking about it in God’s presence. God became a source of shame for them: Adam hid because he was naked and God knew why. Maybe their body’s would have perished anyway, and they wouldn’t really have known the difference?

No, this is contrary to Church teaching.

Explain why.

At the end of time we will be united with our physical bodies, since our bodies are a component of us. Original Sin was the cause of both physical and spiritual death. Look up Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.

Who is he?

Who is who?

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