Monday, June 21, 2010

Original sin

According to Christian tradition, Original sin is the general and non-personal condition of sinfulness (lack of holiness) into which human beings are born. It is also called hereditary sin or birth sin. Used with the definite article ("the original sin"), it refers to the first sin committed by humans, seen as the seed of future evil effects for the whole human race. Christians usually refer to this first sin as "the Fall".

By analogy the term is used in fields other than religion to indicate a pervading inherent flaw.

The original sin (the Fall)

Classical Biblical view
Adam and Eve's sin, as recounted in the Book of Genesis is sometimes called in Hebrew החטא הקדמון (the original sin), on the basis of the traditional Christian term. But the term used in classical Jewish literature is חטא אדם הראשׁון, (the first sin of man, or of Adam).

The account in Genesis 2-3 implies that Adam and Eve initially lived in a state of intimate communion with God. The narrative reads that God "made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad (Genesis 2:9, ESV)." God then forbid Adam to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge warning him that he would surely die if he did so. Man was not forbidden to eat from the tree of life initially, but was after breaking the commandment to not eat of the tree of knowledge. God said "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Genesis 3:22-23). See "The Tree of Life and "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Genesis 2:15-17). The serpent persuaded Eve to eat from the tree and "she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (Genesis 3:6b, NAB)." After eating the fruit Adam became aware of his nakedness (Genesis 3:1-7). God bestowed a curse upon each of the active participants. First the earth is cursed with thorns. Next the serpent's physical form is altered and God sets up an eternal enmity between Eve and the serpent and all their offspring (Genesis 3:9-15). God then pronounces two curses upon Eve. First, she is to suffer the difficulties of pregnancy. Second, her husband will henceforth rule over her. God then tells Adam that he will now struggle for his sustenance
16 To the woman he said,

"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

17 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
(Genesis 3:16-21 ESV)


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