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100

Part One

III.

O

riginal

S

in

Freedom put to the test

396

God created man in his image and established him in his

friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only

in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating “of the

tree of the knowledge of good and evil” spells this out: “for in the

day that you eat of it, you shall die.”

276

The “tree of the knowledge

of good and evil”

277

symbolically evokes the insurmountable lim-

its that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect

with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator and subject to the laws

of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

Man’s first sin

397

Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die

in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command.

This is what man’s first sin consisted of.

278

All subsequent sin

would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his good-

ness.

398

In that sin man

preferred

himself to God and by that very

act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against

the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his

own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to

be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he

wanted to “be like God,” but “without God, before God, and not

in accordance with God.”

279

399

Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first

disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original

holiness.

280

They become afraid of the God of whom they have

conceived a distorted image—that of a God jealous of his preroga­

tives.

281

400

The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks

to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s

spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and

276

Gen

2:17.

277

Gen

2:17.

278 Cf.

Gen

3:1-11;

Rom

5:19.

279 St. Maximus the Confessor,

Ambigua:

PG 91, 1156C; cf.

Gen

3:5.

280 Cf.

Rom

3:23.

281 Cf.

Gen

3:5-10.

1730

311

301

1707, 2541

1850, 215

2084

2113

1607

2514

602, 1008