From a Catholic perspective, did Adam's body undergo any change after the fall?

Probably there is no hint in the Scripture, but I wonder if the problem has ever been raised by Catholic commentators.

  • When Adam fell, he got a boo boo on his knee. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 18:01

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Did Adam's body undergo any change after the fall?

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Geneses 1 26-31)

Physically Adam (and Eve) remained the same after the fall, but on a spiritual level many things changed. As we see, Adam and Eve were able to eat food in paradise as well as to copulate without sinning.

In Gen. 2:25, it states "and the two of them were naked" (וַיִּֽהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עֲרוּמִּים), but it does not say that Adam and Eve knew they were naked (cp. Gen. 3:11). The statement that they were naked is merely an objective fact. - What is the Biblical basis for man being created perfect, or for man not being created perfect?

Because they did not know they were naked, "they were not ashamed" (וְלֹא יִתְבֹּשָׁשׁוּ) (ibid). Yet, in Gen. 3:7, once "they knew that they were naked" (וַיֵּדְעוּ כִּי עֵירֻמִּם הֵם), after partaking of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6), which causes their eyes to be opened (Gen. 3:7a), then they were ashamed and afraid (Gen. 3:10). Consequently, they made themselves girdles or aprons from fig leaves to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:7b).

Adam and his wife were created with all the physical attributes to be normal human beings in paradise, plus more. But, once they sinned pain and suffering entered the world. Man became susceptible to illness and disease.

The chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God was sanctifying grace, which made them children of God and gave them the right to heaven.

Together with sanctifying grace God gave Adam and Eve the super natural virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

The other gifts bestowed on Adam and Eve by God were happiness in the Garden of Paradise, great knowledge, control of the passions by reason, and freedom from suffering and death. - Questions and Answers on the Creation and the Fall of Man

All these were lost when Adam and Eve first sinned.

Some say that prior to the fall they clothed in light. This too was lost as a result of sin.

It seems this interpretative tradition goes back millennia to the ancient Jews. BioLogos has a short article on the development of the tradition that Adam and Eve "wore" garments of light, attributing it to the Jewish squeamishness regarding the naked body, then exacerbated by Greek culture, rampant with nudity, flooding the Jewish populations at the time of Alexander the Great.

The article does not list any ancient Jewish sources as having discussed this topic, but it does mention and quote one Christian: Ephraem, the 4th century Syrian theologian. The most revealing quote is:

It is because of the glory with which they were clothed that they were not ashamed. When it was taken away from them—after they had violated the commandment—they were indeed ashamed, because they were now naked (Commentary on Genesis, 2:14). [Other quotes are offered in the article]

In a different vein of "study", nearly 1500 years later, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich had an extensive and very vivid personal revelation in which she described Adam and Eve as clothed in light.

They were like two unspeakably noble and beautiful children, perfectly luminous. and clothed with beams of light as with a veil. From Adam's mouth I saw issuing a broad stream of glittering light, and upon his forehead was an expression of great majesty. Around his mouth played a sunbeam, but there was none around Eve's. I saw Adam's heart very much the same as in men of the present day, but his breast was surrounded by rays of light. In the middle of his heart, I saw a sparkling halo of glory. [More at Shield of Faith]. Fredsbend's answer to Adam and Eve Clothed in Light Before the Fall - Origin of Teaching?

As a result of the fall of our first parents the human nature was weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence"). See the Catechism of the Catholic Church for more details on original sin.


St. Thomas Aquinas writes (Summa Theologica I-II q. 81 a. 4 co.):

original sin is transmitted from the first parent to his posterity, inasmuch as they are moved by him through generation, even as the members [of the body] are moved by the soul to actual sin. Now there is no movement to generation except by the active power of generation: so that those alone contract original sin, who are descended from Adam through the active power of generation originally derived from Adam, i.e. who are descended from him through seminal power; for the seminal power is nothing else than the active power of generation.

So, it seems something about Adam's "seminal power" (ratio seminalis) became defective as a result of his sin.

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