Day 2: The Fall of Adam and Eve
Genesis 3:1-24 This chapter tells the story of the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the consequences of their sin. Following their sin, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden that God had created for them. They now feared God with whom they had once lived in harmony. The fundamental truth communicated here is that evil and suffering WERE NOT brought about by God; rather, they are the direct result of freely rejecting God’s mandate. Our first parents misused their free will and disobeyed God’s command, forfeiting their state of original holiness and justice as well as their communion with God, both for themselves AND THEIR DESCENDENTS. In essence, this violation of God’s command brought sin into the world and would be transmitted through each generation of human life. Nonetheless, God promised them REDEMPTION in the future and that the Evil One would be defeated. (CCC 390, 394-412)
Ch 3:5 You will be like God, knowing good and evil: “Sin is an offense against God...Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become ‘like gods’ (Gn 3:5), knowing and determining good and evil” (CCC 1850). By rejecting God’s authority, Adam and Eve chose to sever their relationship with God, thereby losing their right to the extraordinary blessings showered upon them (CCC 386-389, 399, 1850)
THE REBELLION OF SATAN AND HIS ANGELS (cf. Is 14:12; Rev 12:4-9), which occurred before the creation of the world, explains the presence of the Devil in an otherwise perfect world. The fall of these angels resulted from an irreversible rejection of God. The Devil’s deceptive provocations caused Adam and Eve to doubt God and to believe that he was limiting their freedom. They were originally destined to share in the glory of God but sought to be LIKE God, WITHOUT God. They squandered their magnificent blessings by attempting to usurp God of his singular power and dignity. The fundamental choice in ANY SIN is to disobey God and to put OUR OWN DESIRES AHEAD OF HIM. (CCC 391-395, 397-398, 1008)
Ch 3:7-16 With the loss of original holiness and justice, the beautiful harmony and unity of man and woman was damaged. This first sin, referred to as Original Sin or the Fall, is transmitted to all the descendants of our first parents. Its effects are clouded moral judgement, disordered passions, and a will inclined to a selfishness that detracts from charity and other virtues. The nakedness of Adam and Eve became a matter of shame provoked by the new presence of lustful desires. They tried to hide themselves from God to no avail. (CCC 29, 396-410, 2515)
Ch 3:9-13 When confronted with their sin, Adam and Eve immediately began shifting the blame. Both, however, freely chose to disobey God and were, therefore, culpable. What is this that you have done?: God invited them to confess their guilt and show repentance for their sin. He would also promise them a future redemption (CCC 1607, 1736-1737, 2568)
SIN, SUFFERING, AND DEATH WERE INTRODUCED INTO THE WORLD by the sin of Adam and Eve; nonetheless, the grace of Christ enables us to overcome sin and SOME of its effects. Christ taught us that by offering up our pains and hardships, CARRYING OUR DAILY CROSSES, and uniting our suffering to his, we can sanctify ourselves and others and participate in his redemptive work. Through the Sacraments received in faith and in loving God and neighbor, we strive to conform ourselves to the Life of Christ. (CCC 375-378, 400, 1607, 1609-1610, 2427)
Ch 3:15 In this verse, called the PROTOEVANGELIUM (“First Gospel”), God promised that the offspring of the woman would defeat Satan. Christians see this promise fulfilled in Mary and her Son, Jesus Christ, whose Death on the Cross and Resurrection conquered sin and death. For this reason, Christ and his Mother are referred to as the NEW ADAM and the NEW EVE. Mention of the bruising of the heel represents the pain and suffering imparted by the Devil on humanity; the crushed head signifies a mortal wound that would be delivered by Christ, which would vanquish Satan and the forces of evil for those who accept Christ and his teachings. As seen repeatedly throughout salvation history, God is able to bring GOOD OUT OF EVIL. The Exsultet during the MASS OF EASTER VIGIL intones,
“O truly necessary sin of Adam,
Destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
That earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”
(CCC 55, 70, 407-412, 489)
Ch 3:19 Death was not part of God’s plan for his creation but was an IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCE of Original Sin. The priest may speak this text during the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes on Ash Wednesday: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (CCC 1006-1009)
Ch 3:24 Cherubim: It is speculated that there are nine classes, or CHOIRS, of angels; this is one of them. Angels are immortal spiritual beings created to serve God in different ways; they appear before important events throughout the history of our salvation. (CCC 328-336)
Ch 4:1-2 Through sexual relations that lead to the conception of new life, a husband and wife share in God’s creative power. (CCC 371-372, 1603-1604, 1643, 1652, 2335)
Ch4:3-15 One sin often leads to another; what began as Cain’s ENVY of his brother led him to a HATRED that eventually provoked murder. Lesser sins, when left unchecked, reduce our resistance to greater temptation. The Fifth Commandment forbids the DIRECT and INTENTIONAL killing of another person. The murder of a close family memger is ESPECIALLY GRAVE beause it severs bonds of family. (CCC 401, 1867, 2259-2262, 2268, 2538)
Ch 4:3-7 Abel offered the best of his flock-a sacrifice pleasing to God-while Cain offered merely the ordinary fruits of his harvest-a sacrifice less pleasing to God. Cain’s lack of generosity put him in a disposition to sin grievously. Separation from God through mortal sin usually begins with a lack of generosity expressed in venial sins. The lamb offered by Abel together with his death through murder prefigures (TYPOLOGY!!!) Christ’s sacrificial Death, which merits his title the “Lamb of God.” The acceptable sacrifice of Abel is recalled in Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon):
“Be pleased to look upon these offerings….and to accept them,
As once you were pleased to accept
The gifts of your servant Abel the just.”
(CCC 1863, 2569)
Ch 4:16-26 Marriage, together with the children born of the marital union, follow God’s plan that corresponds to human dignity. A man and woman united in marriage reflect the loving relationship that exists among the divine persons of the Trinity. (CCC 2335)
Ch 4:17 Cain’s descendants are credited with building a great city and becoming proficient in many crafts.
Psalm 104 This hymn sings the praises of God for the marvels of creation through which he reveals himself to his people. The beauty, harmony, and intrinsic goodness of creation, which flows in such meticulous detail, are compelling evidence of his great love for us. Not only is creationan indescribable marel but also God explicitly entrusted the world to EVERY PERSON. Specifically, the Lord has created the world in such a way that through human work every person can secure sustenance, shelter, and protection. Creation not only stops at just providing needs but also serves as material elements such as bread, wine, and oil for the administration of Sacraments. When you send…of the earth: An alternate translation of this verse is prayed for the Responsorial Psalm of the Solemnity of Pentecost:
“Lord, send out your Spirit,
And renew the face of the earth.”
All three Persons of the Blessed Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-are equally involved with the work of creation and its maintenance. (CCC 288, 295, 703, 1333, 2828-2829)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Key Event 2: The Fall of Man (Genesis 3:1-24)
The serpent (Satan) tempts our first parents by casting doubt upon God’s goodness, and they disobey God, thereby inaugurating the tragic history of sin and its devastating consequences. Mankind loses trust that God’s ways are ordered towards our happiness (see CCC 397)
Key Event 3: Curse and Promise (Genesis 3:8-24)
After the Fall, pain and laborious work enter the human experience. Nevertheless, in Gen 3:15, God gives the first promise of redemption, known in Christian tradition as the PROTOEVANGELIUM (Latin for “first Gospel”). It points to Mary (the woman) and Jesus (her seed), who will ultimately crush the head of the serpent (Satan) on the Cross.
Leviathan is a fearsome creature aka the serpent. He challenges God’s trustworthiness, not His existence, or His authority
This is the test for everyone…..God doesn’t want us to simply believe in Him, but to BELONG to Him
All Adam and Eve knew to that point was that God loved them, and the first challenge of the serpent was that “God didn’t really love them”
The fruit of the tree of knowledge is described as being beautiful, good for food, and desirable to make one wise, which are all good things
We look at sin the same way Eve looked at the forbidden fruit and seems like it would be a good idea
Any choice we make that goes against God’s will is us saying we don’t BELONG to God
The way we hear Gen 3:11 is very important…..we can hear it as wrath and anger, or as heartbreak because He knew the Plan He had for us….we could live our lives with peace and joy in our lives in His presence
Because of that choice, now there is a different path
God curses the serpent, but gives Adam and Eve PENANCES
Adam and Eve did not choose love and love always involves sacrifice
God doesn’t want them to eat the Tree of Life and live forever in brokenness, He needs them to die so they can be saved and raised up
He dresses them in leather skins, which means something had to die for God to be able to love Adam and Eve in that moment (sacrifice)
Able offered the firstborn of his flock, Cain offered not the first fruits he grew but just whatever was left…..we can look at ourselves and ask “What am I offering God? Am I offering the best, or just whatever is left?”
Even when we are broken, angry, or tempted, WE DO NOT HAVE TO SIN
Prayer by Father Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you thanks and praise. We give you glory and we love you. Thank you for sharing your Word with us. Thank you for giving us this clear vision of how you had created this world and how we allowed sin to enter into it. Thank you for not abandoning us in the midst of our woundedness, but always following us into the wilderness, following us into the darkness so that you can be our light. Thank you, Father. We give you praise in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
St. Paul notes in Romans 5:14 that Adam is a type of Jesus. When we talk about typology (the study of types), think of the Old Testament as "Prototypes": "Proto" meaning- primitive; precursor. Prototypes serve as a preliminary model from which a later model fulfills and improves upon where the prototype is lacking or defective.
Here's a side-by-side comparison that shows how Adam a type of Jesus.
Since Adam serves as a type of Jesus- "the new Adam of the New Covenant," it can beg the question: "Does the New Covenant also have a "New Eve"? The Church, as attested by the Early Church Fathers write, says yes! But the New Eve role, as shown by Scripture is Mary, Jesus' mother. Here is a side-by-side look at how Eve is a prototype to Mary, who fulfills where Eve fell short.
In the writings of the Early Church Fathers speak of the Cross as the Tree of Life, from which it's fruit is the body of Christ. When we look at the texts about the Tree of Life of Genesis 3, we start to notice some striking similarities with the word of Jesus in the Gospels, St. Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth, and how we are called to partake (or refrain from) the Eucharist at Mass!
Have you ever noticed the similarities between the story of Cain and Abel, and the animosity of the Sanhedrin towards Jesus?
We could also say that by extension, the Sanhedrin serves like the older brother in it's authority to the Church- the body of Christ- which God gave his authority to on this side of the veil- which suffered persecution and martyrdom at the hands of the Sanhedrin.