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I always used to consider the original sin committed by Adam and Eve as eating the forbidden fruit from a particular tree. But recently my husband commented that Adam and Eve had sex with each other which is the original sin. I had no substantial point to prove against his point.

Is sex considered to be the forbidden fruit? Is that thought prevalent among Christians or at least Catholics? What is the Catholic teaching on the original sin?

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I'd be curious to know on what he based that statement. It sounds like it could be something taught in some Churches, but I've never heard it myself. I'd be interested to know where the view comes from, and what groups adhere to it. –  David Stratton Dec 6 '11 at 4:33
He is from a Catholic background, but has done extensive reading from different sources (mostly non-Christian books). So I think the source of these thoughts are from these readings though I cannot point to a specific book. –  Techiegirl Dec 6 '11 at 6:00
There are some Catholics that participate on this site. We may yet hear from a specifically Catholic point of view. –  David Stratton Dec 6 '11 at 6:18

6 Answers 6

up vote 31 down vote accepted

Sexual intercourse was not a sin at all (for Adam and Eve in the context of their marriage). In fact, God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply:

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Genesis 1:28 ESV

While having sexual intercourse was not a direct command, it most certainly was an indirect command. You can't be fruitful and multiply without it, unless God was merely encouraging them to garden and do arithmetic.

So, the original sin was eating of the fruit in direct violation of God's command. However, it could be suggested that pride preceded that, because for them to defy God's command they had to exalt themselves as the authority over their own lives. Pride would have been a sin of the heart whereas eating of the fruit was a sin of deed.

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+1 for a variety of reasons ... but "to garden and do arithmetic" ranks up there! –  warren Dec 6 '11 at 17:38

Most traditions agree that the original sin was disobedience to God. God specifically told them not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden, and they did it anyway.

Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18).

Eating of the fruit, in direct contradiction to what He told them to do is the definition of rebellion. They chose to do what they wanted instead of what God had commanded.

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I took away from reading Theology of the Body for Beginners, which is a entry-level explanation of Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body talks aimed primarily at married couples or those interested in Catholic teaching on sexuality, that Adam and Eve could have had some great sex in the garden of Eden. I may have been misreading it or reading between the lines, but that's the gist my wife and I got.

In any event, that is not original sin, the way men and women use each other for sex and with sex is a 'fruit' of original sin. But in that sense, fruit is just something that comes from somewhere else like Jesus is the Fruit of Mary's womb or your underwear are the Fruit of the Loom.

The forbidden fruit can certainly be allegorically interpreted, but there's no reason to think it has anything to do with sex, other than to make it shameful somehow. Previous to eating of the tree, man only knew good and only sought the good. Afterwords man knows sin. Sex in and of itself is not sinful. Pope Paul VI's Encyclical Humanae Vitae (On human life) says that it's part of your vocation as a married couple.

In humble obedience then to her voice, let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life, a vocation which, deriving from their Baptism, has been confirmed anew and made more explicit by the Sacrament of Matrimony. For by this sacrament they are strengthened and, one might almost say, consecrated to the faithful fulfillment of their duties. Thus will they realize to the full their calling and bear witness as becomes them, to Christ before the world. For the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God's love, God who is the Author of human life.

Humanae Vitae

It's not original sin, it's obedience to your calling (not being a misogynistic guy here, being chaste for a time is also obedience to your calling).

Original sin was disobedience because of pride, the disordered desire to be like God without being obedient to Him.

Three things to ask your husband when he thinks he's so smart:

  1. How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden?

  2. Where was Adam when Eve ate the apple?

  3. How big was the snake?

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great response :) –  warren Dec 6 '11 at 17:39
4. Did the snake have legs before the fall and lose them as a result? :-) –  Brian Knoblauch Dec 9 '11 at 19:31
@Brian I was just reading the illustrated Book of Genesis at the library and remembered your comment. I never thought about it that way, very interesting... –  Peter Turner Jan 17 '12 at 22:54

the original sin has noting to do with sex at all, but instead with the desire to be like God--to quote the Snake: 'you will be like gods, knowing good and evil'. Of course, the snake doesn't tell that you cannot stay in the Garden(original innocence), and know good and evil, too.

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To me, the fruit which Adam and Eve consumed, in fact gave them the power to reason. It could be that the fruit increased blood supply to their brains, which in turn, increased the neuron connectivity. With increased reasoning power, and the ability to think and decide, Adam and Eve lost that state of bliss for which their brains had originally been programmed.

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Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. This really seems to be personal interpretation, rather than an established doctrine. –  Affable Geek Feb 24 '14 at 13:50
Are you saying there was no sin? –  curiousdannii Jun 2 '14 at 3:10


What exactly was the original sin?


The dictionary defines the word "original" as follows:

"present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest"

Therefore, I must depart from most of the previous trains of thought, enlightening as they may be. I do so on the basis of their missing the thrust of the "original" question.

The "original sin" must not be attributed to Adam and Woman, but instead the award goes to Lucifer. Please observe from Isaiah 14:12-14—

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

I must agree with Charles Laster that the original sin was pressing a desire to be like God, but "originally," this was not done by Adam and Woman, but by Lucifer, a.k.a., Satan, a.k.a., the devil.

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