The Fall, Genesis Chapter 3

In the story of Eden, Genesis says:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Notice that Adam’s behavior in this story is completely passive. Throughout the scene, he is silent. The Serpent and Eve have their discussion, she decides to eat the fruit, she gives some to Adam, and he eats it too. The story doesn’t say that Eve tempted him, and nothing in the narration or in his silence suggests that she did. There’s no indication he’s reluctant to eat the fruit, that his better judgment is overwhelmed by treachery, or even that he thinks about it at all. He says nothing and takes no initiative. It’s merely a passive act of acquiescence.

Socrates will later describe the human soul as composed of three parts – the Thoughts of the Mind, the Emotions of the Heart, and the Needs and Appetites of the Body. He shows how these parts are in a state of chaos and disorder. To ‘perfect’ one’s soul means that each of these parts must perform its proper function in a well-ordered harmony with the others.

In the story of the Garden of Eden, which is a parable of our inner life and the need to evolve and perfect the soul, Adam represents the Mind, Eve represents the Heart, and the Serpent represents the Body. In their proper alignment, the Mind should be the Active principle that governs the soul. The Body should the Passive principle which supports the efforts of the Mind. And the Heart should be the Reconcilingprinciple that protects and nurtures the soul under the guidance of the Mind.

But what happened in the Garden of Eden is that this ‘order’ became inverted. The serpent (the Body) interfered, took the active lead, and persuaded Eve (the Heart) to go along with its wishes. Adam (the Mind), silent and oblivious, passively joined in.

This was the real ‘sin’ that occurred in the Garden of Eden, and that recurs in each one of us. This is the ‘Original’, in the sense of ‘fundamental’, sin – the sin of an inverted soul

It takes very little imagination to see that this allegory provides a complete and accurate description of our contemporary lives – the pop culture, the vulgarity, the greed. The Body’s appetites are completely in charge of our actions, the Heart’s emotions fawn over these cravings, and the Mind (at least in the sense of genuine Wisdom) sits back silently and lets it all continue.

‘Original Sin’ is not “something an evil woman did a long time ago”. On the contrary, we are all committing this sin right now. It is high time we stopped blaming ‘Eve’.

When God returns to the Garden, his instructions are really quite simple. If the soul wants to evolve, the Serpent must crawl on its belly – in other words, the Body must be Passive and focus on the Earth. Adam must “earn his bread through the sweat of his face” – in other words, the Mind must become Active and take control. And Eve must “obey” her husband. This latter should not be twisted into a sexist command about social and marital relations. It’s an inner symbol that simply means the heart must listen to the intelligence of the mind, not to the cravings of the Body.

ENCOURAGE YOURSELF: It is imperative to follow instructions as they are given. Whether from God when He speaks to you, as well as your boss. Remember when it is time to answer to God, He will not excuse you because Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. You will be accountable for your own actions, good or bad.

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