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Chapter 6. Man and Woman in the Beginning • 69

over God’s will and plan. Sin entered the world through this decision to

choose themselves over God and his plan.

Through the Fall of Adam and Eve, the harmony of creation was also

destroyed. If we continue to read the Book of Genesis, we see how Adam

and Eve became aware of their sinful condition, were driven out of the

garden, and were forced to live by the sweat of their brow. The beauty

and harmony of God’s creative plan was disrupted. This was not the way

it was meant to be. Once sin entered into life and into our world, all har-

mony with God, with self, with each other, and with the world around us

was shattered. We call the Fall and its results “Original Sin.”

Each one of us is heir to Adam and Eve. Their sin shattered God’s

created harmony, not only for them but also for us. We experience the

effects of Original Sin in our daily life. This explains why it is so difficult

to do good or to do what we should.



Scripture uses figurative language in describing the account of the Fall

in Genesis 3 but affirms an event that took place at the beginning of

human history. The language is figurative, but the reality is not a fantasy.

The gift of freedom, given to the first man and woman, was meant to

draw them closer to God, to each other, and to their destiny. God asked

them—as he asks us—to recognize their human limits and to trust in

him. In the temptation, they were lured into trying to surpass their being

human. “You will be like gods” (Gn 3:5). They abused their freedom,

failed to trust God, and disobeyed his command. They lost paradise and

its gifts. And death became part of the human experience. For the people

of ancient Israel, sin was a spiritual death that leads to separation from

God, the source of life, and consequently, to the death of the body.

The sin of Adam and Eve has been called Original Sin since the time

of St. Augustine (AD 354-430). But the Church’s belief in an ancient

alienation from God was part of Revelation from the start.

What is Original Sin? It is a deprivation, a loss of the original holi-

ness and righteousness with which our first parents were created. When