A tsunami that explodes on the scene causes catastrophes. The destruction of cities and towns, homes, neighborhoods, businesses, and most important the destruction of human life—all of these are just a few of the effects of a powerful tsunami.
ORIGINAL SIN: THE FIRST MORAL TSUNAMI. In a parallel spiritual sense, we can assert that the Original Sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, was a moral tsunami that radically changed the course of human events and human history, with powerful repercussions until the very end of time.
READ GENESIS CHAPTER 3! We invite all to read, meditate, and pray over the first book of the Bible, Genesis, Chapter Three! In this key chapter of the Bible we encounter our first parents Adam and Eve. They are created out of love by God whose essence is Love! However, both Adam and Eve were subjected to a test of their freedom to see if they really and truly did love God fully and completely. In other words, love indeed demands freedom of choice such that love can be accepted or love can be rejected.
THE TEST FOR ADAM AND EVE. God put them to the test and the test was simple and to the point: not to eat from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they were to eat from this tree, then they would die. This was the only test!
EVE AND THE NEAR OCCASION OF SIN. Eve actually drew close to the tree. This was already a red flag because she was placing herself in danger, in what we term the near occasion of sin. In other words, she was playing with fire, walking on a slippery slope, walking, if you like, on thin ice. Many of our sins are preceded by the same situation: we place ourselves in the near occasion of sin!
THE SERPENT: THE TEMPTER. Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, defines the devil as the tempter! The tempter drew close to Eve and started to work on her! He invited her to eat from the forbidden fruit and if done she would actually be like God. Like Eve, we too are tempted! Like Eve, the devil presents to all of us a form of forbidden fruit. Alcohol, premarital sex, pornography, taking illegal drugs, unfaithfulness to a spouse in thought or deed, stealing—all of these might be termed the modern forbidden fruit. We must be cognizant of the forbidden fruit that the ancient serpent, the devil, constantly offers us. This is part of the dynamic of the human condition that terminates only in the moment of our death. We are constantly in battle with the enemy!
EVE LISTENS TO THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE DEVIL. Eve could have easily gotten up and walked away from the tree and the forbidden fruit; God endowed her with free-will. However, quite the contrary, she listened to the devil and even entered into dialogue with the enemy of our human nature. (Definition of the devil for St Ignatius). How often has it happened in our lives that, very much like Eve, we have listened to the wily and astute insinuations of the devil, and even entered into dialogue with the enemy?
DOUBTING GOD’S GOODNESS AND PROVIDENCE. One of the key elements of the tempter was to question God’s goodness and to lie. Jesus says the devil is a liar and a murderer from the beginning. The devil convinced Eve that by eating the forbidden fruit she would be like unto God and that surely she would not die. Instead of giving her faith, trust, and obedience to God, Eve followed the advice of the devil. How often in our personal daily lives have we doubted God’s goodness, doubted His Providence, and failed to trust in His ever-present and providential love in our lives? Eve’s story is our story!
EVE AND THE EYES! Now Eve, with the eyes that God gave her, looks up to the forbidden fruit. She is very close to a total collapse and falling into sin. She should have never used her eyes to look at the forbidden fruit. But she did! The philosophers state: The eyes are the mirror of the soul. The eyes are the key sense by which we can derive sense perception and a window into reality. However, our eyes are created by God to contemplate the good, the true, and the beautiful. Why not examine our own lives with the simple but all-encompassing question: how do I use my eyes? Like Eve, have I used, rather abused the use of my eyes to look upon the forbidden fruit? If so when, where, why, and with what frequency? This provocative question should gently lead us into an examination of conscience of our lives and how we use God’s created gifts to us!!!
EVE PLUCKS FROM THE TREE AND EATS! Eve has now given full consent in her will and has truly disobeyed God; she has committed what the Church has called Original Sin. This was the first sin committed in the world and it would unleash a moral tsunami that would have repercussions until the end of the world—a huge domino effect influencing all times, places, cultures, and persons!
THE WHY OF THIS SIN? Why was it that Eve, with full-knowledge, ate from the forbidden fruit thereby disobeying God and opening up the door to countless moral evils until the end of time? The root cause of this sin is that which is at the root of all sins—Pride, resulting in disobedience, independence from God, self-love and selfishness. How many times in our lives have we bitten into the forbidden fruit for the same reasons! The story of Adam and Eve indeed is our own personal history!
SOCIAL EFFECT OF SIN. The sin that Eve willfully committed does not stop there! No! At her side all the while was Adam, her husband! Now, even after Eve ate from the forbidden fruit, Adam could have gotten up and walked away, leaving Eve alone with God to deal with this first sin! However, this was not the case! Adam also ate from the forbidden fruit. Both were responsible for committing the Original Sin. In this there are many profound messages. Off the bat we see the Social Effect of sin—that is to say, Eve’s sin led Adam also to sin. How often in our lives has it happened that our sin influenced in a negative way another person or sometimes many people??? Sin is not done in a vacuum, but rather it touches and affects others in society, and very often those closest to us! As the poet John Donne reminds us: No one is an island unto himself!
The second part of our essay will be to help us reflect seriously on the catastrophic tsunami effects that this one sin, the Original Sin, left on all of humanity until the very end of time. Indeed, the whole universe, like a worldwide earthquake or tsunami was shaken by the sin of Adam and Eve. We offer you a rather long list for your personal meditation and reflection.
1. OUR NATURAL WORLD. Because of Original Sin there are natural disasters that rock the world: earthquakes, tsunamis, monsoons, excessive heat and excessive cold, blizzards, storms, hurricanes, etc. All due to the first sin of our first parents!
2. ANIMAL REBELLION. None of us would pet a ferocious tiger or lion or rattle-snake. Even in the animal world there is no longer the harmony and friendship that existed between animals, and between animals and humanity, as part of God’s original creation.
3. WOMAN. For the woman a punishment was meted out different than for the man. Woman is called to bring forth children in labor and pain. Any mother present and reading this article can give eloquent testimony to the truth of suffering in child-birth, as well as in the raising of her children.
4. MAN. Hard work and labor is his lot, and bringing forth thorns and thistles from the sweat of his brow. Blood, sweat, tears, fatigue, exhaustion—all of these are consequences of work and consequences of the effects of Original Sin.
5. DARKENING OF THE INTELLECT. Due to Original Sin, the mind of the human person is still intact but it has been partially impaired or darkened. This makes study and learning at times a real effort and chore. Not all of us have gotten straight A’s from Kindergarten through the University!
6. MEMORY LOSS. Not only is the intellect darkened, but the memory fails. How often have we tried to recall some event, name, number, circumstance, or truth in our memory and we only encounter a blank!!!
7. WEAKENING OF THE WILL. Still more we all struggle with a weak will. Jesus expressed this very clearly to the Apostles in the Garden of Olives, when He said: Stay awake and pray so that you will not be put to the test; for the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. All too often we know what we should do, but we end up by doing the exact opposite. Saint Paul clearly expressed this interior dichotomy, struggle, and battle between the flesh and the spirit.
8. CONCUPISCENCE. Saint Thomas Aquinas explains another effect of Original Sin—that of concupiscence. By the word concupiscence the Angelic Doctor means the strong tendencies, inclinations, or proclivities that we have in our fallen human nature that pull us toward sin. If you like, it is as if we had an inner tug of war battling and waging within us between good and bad.
9. THE CAPITAL SINS. The best way to understand the whole concept of concupiscence would be the whole reality of the Capital sins—these bad tendencies toward sin that we experience within ourselves. The Capital sins are the following: Gluttony, Lust, Sloth (laziness), Avarice (greed), Envy, Anger, and Pride. If we do not conquer these capital sins through the grace of God and our generous collaboration, then they will conquer us and we will be slaves to them. For that reason, Jesus calls sin Slavery!
10. EMOTIONAL DISORDERS. Furthermore, as a result of Original Sin, many are afflicted with emotional disorders of various kinds: depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, violent mood swings, etc. Indeed, many are under medical treatment for emotional disorders. All of this once again came about because of the moral tsunami started by Adam and Eve who committed the Original Sin.
11. SICKNESSES. Doctors, Nurses, and Hospitals will always be in demand until the end of time. Why? Adam and Eve are the culprits once again. Various illnesses and diseases can attack us at any age. Also, the human body as it ages gradually deteriorates and falls apart. As one elderly man in his 80’s stated, “Your body falls apart one part at a time!” It is interesting to note that never do we see Jesus or Mary ever sick in the Gospels. Why, you might ask? The response is clear and to the point: neither were infected by Original Sin. Jesus was God, and Mary, in the words of the poet Wordsworth: “Mary is our tainted nature’s solitary boast!”
12. WARS! In 1917 Our Lady of Fatima appeared six times to the little children at Fatima; this was during the time of World War I in Europe. Many families were shattered due to the many deaths in this terrible war. Our Lady stated that war comes as a result of sin and she implored the world to pray for the end of war. She also made the prophecy that if people kept sinning and did not pray enough, then another and worse war would break out. Sure enough, within twenty years the Second World War exploded killing more than double the number killed in World War I! Our point: wars are a result of sin and it all started with the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, and even before that, the war in heaven between the rebellious angels and the good angels presided over by Saint Michael the Archangel. (Read Rev. Chapter 12)
13. FAMILY CONFLICT AND TENSION. Indeed, it must be said that the many conflicts that exist between husband and wife, misunderstandings that lead to quarrels, fights, and even separations is due to sin, and it all started with the sin of Adam and Eve.
14. DEATH. Of capital importance in understanding the effects of Original Sin is the reality of death. As Saint Paul reminds us: Death entered into the world through sin. From the most primitive forms to the highest forms of life, death awaits all, makes no distinctions, and plays no favorites. Plants, insects, animals, as well as men and women must all eventually die. All of this is a consequence of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Add to this, as a consequence of their Original Sin the gates of heaven were closed to Adam and Eve and their descendants forever!
15. O HAPPY FAULT!!! All of this being said, we would like to end on a very positive note that Saint Augustine expounds upon in his theological reflections, and it is the following: God allows evil so that He can bring even greater good from that evil. Point in case: The Original Sin of Adam and Eve brought about the Incarnation of Jesus, His life on earth, His teaching and miracles, but most especially His Paschal Mystery—His Passion, Suffering, death and Resurrection. This resulted in the opening up of the gates of heaven, so that all of us have access to heaven for all eternity if we decide to love God and give ourselves totally to His service, through the example, prayers, and intercession of Mary, the Immaculate One!