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I always used to consider the first 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 first sin. I had no substantial point to prove against his point.

Is sex considered to be the forbidden fruit? Is that thought prevalent among Catholics? What is the Catholic teaching on the first sin of Adam and Eve?

(Note that this question is asking about the first sin committed by Adam and Eve, not the doctrine of "original sin": that we all in some way have inherited a sinful nature from them.)

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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
  • What exactly the original sin? If you want an exact description you must accept the view that Adam is a High Priest and Eve role as "helper" is a "deacon". They are offering "sacrifices" in the Garden of Eden or the Temple of God. From these precepts we can now understand the symobolic meaning of the "fruit" coming from the Two Trees. St.Augustine theory of "sexual intercourse" can now be supported. See my answer below. – jong ricafort Nov 14 at 2:36
  • St. Thomas Aquinas solves this question in various parts of Summa Theologiae, most concretely IIa IIae q. 163 a. 1. – Pavel Nov 15 at 16:02
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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
  • Sexual intercourse is a sin if its not in accordance with the Will of God. The word "be fruitful and mulitply" does not refer to "sexual intercourse" but it means the "works of their hands" must be fruitful, and it will only be fruitful if it follows the Will of God. The fact that the punishment is related to "sexual procreation" validates that "sexual intercourse" is the nature of original sin. St.Augustine theory is correct. – jong ricafort Nov 14 at 2:41
  • @jong so the verse should be read as "be fruitful [by the works of your hands] and [let the works of your hands] multiply". Are the *works of their hands" to "fill the earth and subdue it"?. I've seen a translation that renders the wording as "bring forth fruite..." (Geneva Bible). However Luke 1:42 mentions the "Fruit of your womb".. – iBenson Nov 15 at 16:56
  • @lBenson 3 "bring forth fruits" translation(Geneva Bible) is directly related to Galatians5:22, as Adam & Eve obedience will bring forth fruit towards perfection of their virtues. Eastern Orthodox Fathers teaches the journey of Adam & Eve towards Theosis is quite long. – jong ricafort Nov 15 at 20:16
  • @lBenson 3 Re "fruit of your womb" is different. Logos Incarnate to the pure womb of Mary is Jesus the "True Eternal Wisdom". Remember Lucifer knows this is the Divine Plan of God. So, the serpent offered Eve the "false wisdom" that She too can "bear a child" and offer it to God as a pleasing sacrifice instead of their own bodies (Romans12:1). Eve likes the idea and Adam desire it too and so the "sexual procreative act" was committed according to serpent plan and not according to the Will of God. This is the "exact" original sin. – jong ricafort Nov 15 at 20:26
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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,

Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 - NABRE

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?

  • great response :) – warren Dec 6 '11 at 17:39
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    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
  • If you have some extra quotes that the first sin was pride, that would help this answer. – curiousdannii Nov 14 at 8:18
  • @curiousdannii I'll have to search through my tome of Chesterton, there are 100 matches in different essays for "original sin" and "pride". But in the eternal sense of scripture: "Pride goeth before the Fall" seems appropriate. – Peter Turner Nov 14 at 14:34
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What exactly was the original sin?

THREE ANSWER SOURCES to support the theory that "original sin" is sexual by nature.

1.Jewish Scholarly Answer (see this link aticle)

The keyword is the serpent "beguiled" Eve, and the word "beguiled" in Hebrew means, is related to "seduction and defilement" and in this article link even goes further in entertaining the serpent had "raped" Eve, meaning it is contrary to her will.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (Genesis3:13)

THE RAPE OF EVE AND ITS SPIRITUAL CONNOTATIONS IN THE EARLY JEWISH AND GNOSTICS LITERATURE file:///C:/Users/Dell%20PC/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/Peeters%20(3).pdf

2. BIBLICAL ANSWER (St.Paul teachings)

St.Paul teaches what kind of sin destroy or reduced a human body to a body like an animal or a beast, just like what happened first to Eve and later to Adam.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Adam & Eve must honor God with their bodies, and the only sin that can defiled the pure,innocent and virgin body of Eve is sexual by nature. It would be unthinkable to think of any other possible sins that can relate to the punishment of Eve in giving birth other than their sins is sexual procreation by nature.

  1. CATHOLICISM ANSWER

St.Ambrose a Church Father and St.Augustine a Doctor of the Church view original sin was sexual in nature.

St Augustine's theory

St Augustine, who largely devised the theory of original sin, thought that original sin was transmitted from generation to generation through sexual intercourse. Augustine did not say exactly how this happened. He said that it was transmitted by "concupiscence", when people had sex and conceived a child. Augustine thought that concupiscence was present in all sexual intercourse. He thought that it was just as bad and uncontrolled in a marriage as it was in non-marital sex, but that an excuse could be made for it within marriage because its purpose was to produce legitimate children.

...whenever it comes to the actual process of generation, the very embrace which is lawful and honourable cannot be effected without the ardour of lust....

[This lust] is the daughter of sin, as it were; and whenever it yields assent to the commission of shameful deeds, it becomes also the mother of many sins.

Now from this concupiscence whatever comes into being by natural birth is bound by original sin...

Augustine, De bono coniugali https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/beliefs/originalsin_1.shtml

How can we understand this view? We need to understand and accept this following view;

  1. The Garden of Eden situated in the east is the Temple of God. https://jbqnew.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/412/jbq_41_2_gardenofeden.pdf

  2. If there is a Temple of God, what is the role of Adam? He is a Priest.

https://sbts-wordpress-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/equip/uploads/2018/10/SBJT-22.2-Adam-as-Priest-Beale.pdf

  1. If Adam is a Priest, what kind of Priest? God made them overseer, it means he is a Bishop.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”(Genesis1:28)

God made Adam a "ruler or overseer".

  1. If Adam is a High Priest or Bishop, what is Adam offering to God? Adam is offering his own body & blood and the works of his hands. See St.Paul teachings on Romans12:1

A Living Sacrifice 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans12:1)

  1. So, Adam is a High Priest and Jesus is the New Adam that was "anointed" to the Eternal High Priest to offer his own "body & blood" as a sacrifice too.

See this link;https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/sacraments/holy-orders/adam-high-priest-of-humanity

  1. Adam is offering sacrifices in the Temple of God alone, and God sees that it is not good for men to be alone worshipping him. So, God gave Adam a companion and her role is a "helper". What kind of help Adam needs? Adam need someone to help him in offering sacrifices to God. Adam & Eve will now offer their pure & holy bodies to God plus the works of their hands as a pleasing sacrifices to God.

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”(Matthew18:20)

So, Matthew18:20, is the reason why God gave Adam a helper, for when there are two who gathered to worship God, He is in their midst.

So, Adam is a Bishop the one responsible offering the "sacrifices" and Eve role is a "helper". What kind of helper is Eve? In Church terminology a "helper" of Bishop is a "deacon".

Remember Book of Genesis only said, God breathe in to Adam the "Breath of Life" or the Holy Spirit, but did not mention that God also breathe into Eve. Since Adam is a Bishop or High Priest he can confer the gifts of the Holy Spirit to Eve. This is the reason why the vision of Blessed Emmerich reveals Adam "light" is more magnificent than Eve.

The Holy Spirit is the Breath of Lifehttps://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/SJK1/breath.shtml

  1. If Eve is a "helper or deacon", did Adam "anointed" her? Yes! Adam as the High Priest or Bishop can "ordain" and "confer" the gifts of the Holy Spirit to Eve to become a "deacon or helper". See Catechism on the role of Bishop's "imposition of hands" to ordain. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a6.htm

Now, understanding all of the above insight will lead to what exactly is the "original sin".

What do you think is the suggestion made by the serpent? Did the serpent offered Eve a better offering to God other than their bodies and works of their hands?

The Key to understanding the actual original sin is Lucifer was present in the Heavenly Realm when God told the angels His Divine Plan for the Logos. The Logos will be "incarnated" in the form of a child. The "Incarnated Logos" is the most pleasing "sacrifice" to God.

Now look and ponder the "Tree of Life". what do we see, the picture below is a good reference.

enter image description here

What can we reflect upon the picture? Jesus is the "fruit" of the Tree of Life", and all the Saints & Martyrs or the "elect" also is "another Jesus".

The question is who is the Tree of Life? The answer is the chosen Woman from eternity, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Jesus the "firstborn" and all the "elect" are in the womb of Mary as St.Montfort teaches. So, the "Tree of Life" is the symbol of Mary as the Mother of Jesus and all the Redeemed by Jesus as Christ.

Mary as the Tree of Life

Concerning the Tree of Life, in ‘The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) writes:

The Angel showed John "the tree of life, bearing its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations." The tree of life is Mary, the Mother of Life; or the tree of life is the tree of the Cross; or else the tree is Jesus Christ, the Author of Life, who is also the Fruit of Life. Those healing leaves are edifying words and deeds. If even the leaves are healing, how much more healing and life-giving is the fruit? Therefore, that we may be healed by this fruit, let us approach its tree; let us draw near, I say, to Mary. Let us pray with St. Anselm [1033-1109]: "Hear me, O Lady! Heal the soul of thy servant who is a sinner, by virtue of the blessed Fruit of thy womb, who sitteth at the right hand of his Almighty Father."( Bonaventure, The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chapter XVIII ). http://tenstringedlyreofthenewisrael.blogspot.com/2016/12/mary-immaculate-conception-tree-life.html

Now, there is another tree in the garden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Can this tree capable of producing fruit? Yes.

Mary's "pure womb and sinless body" produces the "firstborn", "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus".

How about Eve, can her "pure womb and sinless body" produce a "fruit" meaning a "child"? Yes.

So, the simple question is, since the serpent already knew the Divine Precept of God in the "Incarnated Logos" or the "Wisdom of God" (1Corinthian1:30). Did the serpent offered Eve another form of "wisdom"? Yes, the serpent offered Eve a "wisdom" if she will eat the "fruit", but since Eve resisted and answered that it was forbidden, the serpent "beguiled" Eve by saying "why not touch it first". Eve responded again, but this time Eve uttered a word that does not comes from God but from her "own intellect', Eve said "eating and touch" are both forbidden. This is the Fall of Eve,why? Because she uttered a "lie" in trying to defend herself. The serpent had gained first base.

So, what is the nature of suggestion of the serpent to Eve? The serpent "beguiled" Eve that She can also produce her own "fruit" from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But, she need the cooperation of Adam. The question is, since God clearly forbid them "not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and Good & Evil", it means they cannot produce yet their own "fruit" or a "child" to be offer to God as a "better sacrifice" than what they are offering.

How can we validate, that the actual original sin is the desire of Adam & Eve to produce their own "fruit" and using the analogy that the "pure womb of Mary produces fruits", then Eve "pure womb" can also produce "fruits", but since it is not according to the Will of God, this "sexual act" that can produce "fruit or child" cannot be offer to God.

Why Adam is the one responsible for the "original sin" and not Eve? The simple answer is, Eve is only a "helper or deacon" and the one who are responsible for offering is Adam because he is the High Priest. Adam had "defiled" the Temple of God by desiring to offer to God a "forbidden fruit" from their "sexual procreated acts". That's why God said, after Adam & Eve made the "sexual acts", they become "One of Us" because they can now "create" a creature out of their own action.

St.Hildegard poem, a Doctor of the Church had validated that the actual "original sin" is a sexual act by this words;

"She/Eve destroyed her womb by her ignorance". (St.Hildegard)

A very great cause it was for lamenting and mourning, That through the counsel of the serpent, sorrow and guilt flowed into woman.

For that woman, whom God had set to be the mother of us all, she destroyed her own womb with the wounds of ignorance and gave birth to all pain for her children.

But, O dawn, from your womb a new Sun rises, which has cleansed all Eve’s sins, and through you a blessing flows greater than the harm Eve did to men.

And thus you have saved us, you who bore the New Light for humankind. Gather then the members of your Son into celestial harmony.

From the sequence O virga ac diadema purpurae Regis , translation by Kate Brown, as posted on the Scottish Early Music Consort homepage: http://www.scot-art.org/semc/trans.htm .

Another good validation is the "fruit" or the "child" of Adam & Eve bears the "hatred and murderer nature" of the serpent. Cain had killed his brother Abel.

401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. And even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians.287 Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:

What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.288

St.Maximus the Confessor explain why the "fruit" that comes from the "original sin" of Adam Eve bears the mark of the serpent "hatred & disbodeience".

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(279 St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua: PG 91,1156C; cf. Gen 3:5.)

Therefore, Adam and Eve in committing the "original sin", the "sexual act of procreating their own fruit" from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil had transgressed the Commandment of God, and it is worsen by Adam being a Priest, and since he is the High Priest, their "sexual acts" is an offering that is an "abomination to God" because it is an "offering tainted with disobedience". An offering to God tainted with "disobedience" defiled the Temple of God. Adam loses His anointing as "Ruler" and also loses the gifts of the Holy Spirit, their pure & holy bodies was defiled by their "sexual act". That's why God mercy, taught Adam as a Priest to offer an "unblemished animal" because they can no longer offer their corrupted bodies as a pleasing sacrifice to God.

"Obedience is better than sacrifice". (1Samuel15:22)

Jesus as the "anointed one" to become the Eternal High Priest, is the only who can restore back the "offering that is pleasing to God" to atone for the sins of Adam and his descendants. But God Holy Decrees recquired Jesus as the Eternal Hign Priest need a "helper" too, but since Jesus comes from Heaven, the chosen "helper" must be "anointed" by a Chief Angel who is a "celestial prophet", to make Her "anointing" carries the dimension of both the Heavenly and Earthly realms. Mary is the chosen "Helper", the Sovereign Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus the New Adam the High Priest & Redeemer and Mary the New Eve the chosen "helper or celestial deacon or Virgin, Priest" will fulfill the role of Co-Redemptrix to atone the sins of Adam & Eve and their descendants.

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