“I’ve been counting up all my wrongs, one ‘sorry’ for each star. I’d apologize my way to you if the Heavens stretched that far.” -Brooke Fraser, Arithmetic
In our beginning, God did something amazing: He created humans and blessed us with reason and free will. He inscribed in our hearts an inclination toward Beauty, Truth and Love. He gave us the ability to choose virtue over vice, love over selfishness, and trust over pride. Yet, even after all that, we failed. We repaid God’s generosity with selfishness, and the consequence is what we call our “fallen nature,” or our inclination to sin. Our fallen nature causes us to pine after permanency among rotting possessions. Because of it, we often choose what is easy over what is right. Our predisposition to sin is what necessitates the propagation and enforcement of laws that should be self-evident. It’s what sparks wars, builds fear and corrupts the innocent. It’s hard to imagine that one decision could have such an echoing impact, but it did.
Two tiny bite marks in a little red fruit carved a gaping cavern between God and man. Did Eve feel the burn of bitter juice drip down her chin and pool in her hand? Did Adam notice a change in his bride as the toxin coursed through her body, or did he only see the succulent temptation before him? I imagine that the forbidden apple tasted like every sin: sweet at first, leaving an unbearable after-taste and a deep, lingering hunger. In our inanity, we humans cry out while in the throes of death, “Maybe the next bite will be better!”
God easily could have left us in our misery to destroy ourselves. Thankfully, He cares about us too much to do that. Instead, He sent His only begotten Son to suffer the consequences with and for us, every day of His blessed life. He taught us how to be fully human by becoming one of us. He sees us not only for what we have done, but for who we were created to be. All He asks is that we humbly follow His example; His Way.
This is what I have known ever since I could remember, until high school. When I was in tenth grade, my whole world was shattered as my “Catholic” religion teacher broke the “news” to me that Adam and Eve didn’t exist and that the whole story was an allegory. After the dust settled, I thought the matter was, too. Fine, I thought, Adam and Eve may not have been real, but that doesn’t change anything. I was wrong. The mere idea that Adam and Eve were merely fictional characters threatens to uproot the whole history of our salvation. Without a first parent, there would have been no original sin. Had there been no original sin, there would be no consequence (our base desires wouldn’t be the result of a rift in the natural order, but natural and good in itself). Had there been no consequence, there would be no need for salvation, no need for repentance, no need for the Sacraments, no need for God.
Do not be naïve; false teachings often come mingled with half-truths, wrapped up with good intentions, and may even be given to us by people we trust. Discern, pray, ask, seek and knock. God gave us an inclination toward truth, and He will lead us there.