Orthodox America

  The Results of the Fall into Sin and the Promise of the Saviour

When the first people sinned, they became ashamed and afraid, as all those who do wrong. They suddenly realized that they were naked. In order to cover their nakedness they made themselves clothes by sewing together fig leaves to form wide belts. Instead of becoming perfect, like God, as they had wanted, the opposite happened: their minds were darkened, their conscience began to torment them, and they lost inward peace. All this occurred be- cause they came to know good and evil against the will of God, that is, through sin.

Sin changed men so much that when they heard the voice of God in paradise, they hid among the trees in fear and shame, immediately forgetting that no one can hide anything or anywhere from God Who is all-knowing and everywhere present. Thus, every sin separates men from God.

But God, in His compassion, began to call them to repentance, that is, so that men would understand their sin, confess it before the Lord and ask for forgiveness.

The Lord asked: "Adam, where are you?"

Adam answered: "I heard Thy voice in paradise and I was afraid because 1 was naked, and I hid."

Again God asked: "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the fruit of the tree of which I forbad you to eat?"

Adam answered: "The woman that Thou gavest me, she gave me the fruit and I ate." In this way Adam began to pass the blame onto Eve and even to God Himself Who gave him the woman.

And the Lord said to Eve: "What have you done?"

Instead of repenting, Eve answered, "The serpent tricked me, and I ate."

Then the Lord informed them of the results of their sin.. To Eve God said: "In travail shall you give birth to children, and you must be obedient to your husband." To Adam He said: "For your sin the earth will not be fertile as before. It will bring forth for you thistles and thorns. By the sweat of your face shall you eat your bread [That is , you will earn your food by heavy labor], until you return to the earth from which you were taken that is, until you die, for you are dust and unto dust shall you return."

To the devil who had concealed himself in the serpent, as the one most responsible for man's sin, God said: "You are cursed for what you have done. .." And He said that between him and man there would be a struggle in which man would be the victor. In particular: "The seed of the woman will crush your head, and you will strike at his heel..." That is, from the woman there would come forth an offspring, the saviour of the world, Who would be born of a virgin, and Who would conquer the devil and save man. But for this, He Himself had to suffer

This promise of God concerning the coming of the Saviour was received by men with faith and joy because it gave them great consolation. And so that men would not forget this promise, God taught them to offer sacrifices For this He commanded them to sacrifice a calf, a lamb or a goat, and to burn them with prayer for the forgiveness of sins and with faith in the future Saviour. Such a sacrifice was a prefiguration or representation of the Saviour Who had to suffer and shed His blood for our sins, that is, by His all-pure blood to wash our souls from sin and make them clean, holy, and worthy once again of paradise.

The first sacrifice for sin was offered in paradise. And God made Adam and Eve coats of animal skins and clothed them. But since they had become sinful, they could no longer live in paradise, and so the Lord expelled them from paradise. And the Lord placed an angel-cherubim with a flaming sword at the entrance to paradise in order to guard the way to the tree of life.

The ancestral sin of Adam and Eve, with all its consequences, was passed on through natural birth to all their offspring, that is, to all mankind - all of us. This is why we are born already sinful and subject to all the results of sin: sorrows, illness and death.

Thus, the results of the fall into sin turned out to be very great and heavy. People were deprived of the blessed life of paradise. The world, darkened by sin, was changed: from that time the earth began to produce a harvest only with much labor; together with good fruits weeds began to grow in the fields; animals began to fear man, they became wild and began to hunt for prey. Illnesses, sufferings and death appeared. But most importantly, through their sinfulness people lost the very close and direct communion with God. He no longer appeared to them visibly, as in paradise; this is to say, man's prayer became imperfect.

Read Genesis 3:7-24.