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Adam and Eve's bodies before and after the fall


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#1 Guest_Teo Kia Choong

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 02:31 PM

I have a more general question that pertains to historical theology, and how the human body was viewed under the scrutiny of the church and the Bible during early/late Roman and medieval times. If effectively Adam and Eve did not taste of death before partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, what was the nature of their bodies? Was it in any way similar to the angels? Again, what was the implication of them taking the fruit of the tree of life, after they had partaken of the forbidden fruit? I still remember that it is written that the man must not partake of the fruit of the tree of life, or as is written, he will become like "one of us"(ie. God)in the Book of Genesis.

After the Fall, how different was then the nature(s) of their bodies? In other words, was there any possible way of construing a fall, maybe not in the Gnostic sense since such a sense always mistakenly construes things like eschatology in terms of a dichotomy between spirit and matter, but maybe a fall of the body as well from a more elevated nature that will not taste of death to one that will decay and rot?


#2 Daniel Jeandet

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 03:54 PM

The bodies of Adam and Eve were different to ours. I cant remember which Father said something about their bodies being lighter, without moisture and far less dense.

The whole of reality that was created for man changed after the fall. It fell along with man. Man was created as the mediator between God and the creation. Once the link between God and man was broken, creation was no longer sanctified by the Grace that illumined man and through him illumined the creation. God prevented Adam and Eve from partaking of the tree of life, after the breaking of the commandment, to stop them from becoming immortalised in the fallen state. They were banished because they did not repent of the sin. The Fathers teach that God gave Adam and Eve a chance to repent, but they both put the blame elsewhere.

It is my understanding that the first people were aware of both the material and spiritual aspects of the world around them simultaneously, as a unified knowledge of their reality, not abstracted from sense data, but pouring into thier illumined hearts as inner knowledge, without question or the need for investigation, but a simple wisdom of what God himself knew of the creation, as its maker. Adam named the animals, and he knew thier names, as a part of that wisdom he was recieving from the Uncreated light that illuminated him and his perceptions of his world. In a simple way, like a child, we was the image of the creator. We are trapped in a half real world of the senses, without evidence of the celestial realities of people and things around us. These realities are hidden to our senses but we can see them with our spiritual eye, if our heart is pure.

Children, who rejoice in thier nothingness, and seem to experience reality in a a way that is closer to Adam, when thay begin to develop the ego and a sense of self conciousness, begin to form specific memories, say around the age of four. Before that, who can say how the memory works, or how we are connected to our reality, since we do not remember it? Our angels, when we are children, are always facing towards God, arent they? The Fathers talk about Adams memory in Paradise being single and simple, the single simple memory of God. We are really falling all the time, by forgeting Him.

I dont want to say that everything I have written here is Orthodox or Patristic theology, even though it might be, and some of it is, especially the first paragraph. I think on this subject quite a bit, so I have some ideas of my own, but where they are not true I do not want to keep them, or pass them on.

Here is a good article abot the fall you might like to read. It really is very good, I think it is relevant to your inquiry.

http://free.hostdepartment.com/a/away/



#3 Daniel Jeandet

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:20 PM

I read you post again and I missed a couple of your specific questions first time around.

Angels are fleshless beings that exist in the celestial realm. Adam was first made from the dust, and then he had life breathed into him. So he was a creature existing midway between the spiritual and material worlds. Although Angels are fleshless, they are not completely immaterial, because God alone is purely immaterial, pure spirit.

The first peoples bodies were in a state between corruption and incorruption. Had they kept the commandment, they would have benefited from the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and then at some later stage, partook of the tree of life and gained incorruption. Some fathers say the fruit was Adams contemplation with his reason, of how he was to advance in his vision of God. The commandment was his test. Saint Ephrem speaks of Adam knowing sickness, left with only the memory of health, when he should have learned of sickness by struggling with the temptation and overcoming it, thus gaining in health, and knowing sickness (or what is the difference between good and evil), by resisting it. We are really in the same position.

So thier bodies were niether corrupt or incorrupt, it depended on their decision concerning the commandment. They chose corruption. God knew they would choose badly, he knows everything, and that is why he created them with the right bits to multiply after the fall, even though they would have multiplied differently in paradise, had they remained there.

Please anyone correct me if Im saying the wrong things here.


#4 Guest_Teo Kia Choong

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:24 PM

My queryin a way also extends to how different the consensus about the nature of that Fall was amongst the Greek Fathers and the Latin Fathers, especially between Origen, the Cappadocians, and then Tertullian, Augustine and their followers. In the sense that the Fall prevented Adam and Eve from direct access to the Divine through the tampering of sin, how did it radically change the nature of their bodies from non-immortal bodies(which is not like God's) which does not know death yet to that which would know death? After all, at the beginning, since they have yet to know of death before they have partaken of the forbidden fruit, and neither have they partaken of the fruit of the tree of life, they are effectively not immortal in that sense. But how does that relate to not knowing death? That was an aspect that boggled me a lot when I read the Bible.


#5 Owen Jones

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:36 PM

Dear Daniel,

Thanks for your comments describing man as an in-between being. This is consistent with Plato and many of the Greek Fathers, and if we were to recapture this understanding, it would go a long way toward getting our theology right, our spiritual psychology right, and our political culture right.


#6 Guest_Teo Kia Choong

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 04:49 PM

Dear Daniel,

Although I cannot say that I get everything that has been said, I get part of the gist about what you said about corporeality. Man, being created out of dust of the earth, is indeed corporeal in many ways, and the main aim is of course for us to become divinized and to see God directly and share His glory without being Him. But the Fall is the cause of this alienation and sudden road to long term separation which can only be restored through Christ.


#7 Daniel Jeandet

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 07:34 PM

Trouble is, to really understand these things, we need to return to the state of Adam before the fall. Or at least try, and in trying, realise that we cant understand everything with our minds.

God is life. He is everything. Right now he is our life and our light, even if we dont realise it. Right now, you and me, we are being created by the energies of God. We may see things and think things and feel things, but really, we know nothing unless we know it the way God made us to know it. God did not make man to know death. Man didnt need to learn anything about life, because he was joined to Life in the most natural way, he didnt know anything else, and he wasnt made to. But he was free to know what is not life, what is wrong and evil - sin. And we know from the Fathers that sin and evil do not exist in the way that Good exists. Only God is good. Anything that is against God or in denial of Him is not good, and lacks substantive reality, as St Maximus says. So the mode of knowledge that dominates the fallen man is actually more of an unreal fantasy. Ignorence is a major passion that afflicts us in the way we connect with reality and the things and people around us. We are ignorent of what a person really is. A human being is a divine revalation. Every object is being continuously energised and realised out of nothing by the Uncreated energies of the most Holy Trinity. The most humble useless peice of rubbish, like a dirty mudstain in your shoe, is, in reality, an entire universe of divine life, connected with every other little part of the universe from a galaxy to an electron and containing as much beauty and holiness as a magnificent sunset. We are ignorent of this truth. we cannot see these things because we are not in the light. How can we understand the state of Adam, who was completely clothed in divine grace and knew not just the reality of the material world, but even the reality of celestial and heavanly dimensions that are the basis of all reality as it streams from the mind of God?

We cannot apply our concepts and categories to our faith. Adams knowledge before the fall was not in any way fragmented, compartmentalised, divided or partial. We, however, are completely fragmented and divided within ourselves. All our knowledge takes the form of abstract sense information mixed with imagination, judgement and the influence of the fallen spirits. Adam's state was normal, not supernatural or unusual or strange. We are the strange thing. Im thinking that Adam didnt consider his state, analyse it, question it, compare it, or maybe he did?

Faith must be simple, as simple and singular as possible. We need stupid amounts of faith, ridiculous, unreasonable hope, unjust and indiscriminate love, in order to get as close as possible to purity of heart and thoughts. Like Adam.

I dont know if Im actually helping you here at all, I havent slept and its 5.30am and Im just typing away...





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