Day 56: Man’s First Sin (396-401)
Yesterday we had the Fallen Angels
The day before that, the REALITY OF SIN and the fact that we’re MADE to be in RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
WE REJECT GOD
And that’s THE HEART OF SIN
“GOD, I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. I DON’T CARE. I WANT WHAT I WANT.”
Satan, the Evil One, who has fallen
He rejected God and his reign.
“BETTER TO REIGN IN HELL THAN TO SERVE IN HEAVEN.”
Today we have ORIGINAL SIN, where freedom has been put to the test
God has created us in his image and established us in his friendship
“US” refers to man, human beings
We can only live this friendship in free submission to God
That can sound backwards
That’s the second sentence we’ll hear today
WE CAN ONLY LIVE THIS FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD IN FREE SUBMISSION TO GOD
That can sound uncomfortable and unpleasant
How can we “live in friendship in submission?”
We don’t “live in friendship, in submission, to our neighbor” for example
We do live in friendship in submission to the ONLY ONE WHO IS TRULY GOD
It’s a similar analogy to a marriage
St. Paul, talking to husbands and wives, writes in his letter to the Ephesians “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”
There is a sense of “I place myself beneath you.”
I place myself at your service OUT OF LOVE
I place myself at your service IN THE PROPER ORDER OF THINGS
With husbands and wives it’s almost this race to serve
To submit to the other out of love
When it comes to God himself, we can live this friendship ONLY IN FREE SUBMISSION TO GOD
We respond with this obedience of FAITH
Where basically our posture is “FATHER IN HEAVEN, I TRUST YOU”
This is the horror of sin
Our posture to God should be “FATHER IN HEAVEN, I TRUST YOU.”
In man’s first sin, the distortion that entered into man’s heart was “I can’t trust God”
HE IS NOT MY FATHER
HE IS A TYRANT
HE IS NOT A DAD
HE IS A DICTATOR
THIS IS THE HEART OF THE REJECTION AND THE REBELLION OF HUMAN BEINGS AGAINST GOD
Paragraph 397 says, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart”
This is THE HEART of sin
WE WERE CREATED IN FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
Remember, in Genesis 1 and 2, man and woman walked in HARMONY with God
In the garden, that figurative language, that beautiful imagery, they lived in right relationship with God
They TRUSTED him and God LOVED them
THEY LOVED GOD BACK
THEY LET GOD LOVE THEM
After we were tempted by the Devil, man let his trust in his Creator die in his heart
Paragraph 397 continues, “All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness”
Look at any kind of sin in the world today
“All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness”
We recognize that EVERY sin is DISOBEDIENCE
“GOD, I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. I DON’T CARE. I WANT WHAT I WANT”
And a lack of trust in his goodness.
We would only say that if we thought, “I’M ACTUALLY CHOOSING BETTER THAN WHAT GOD WOULD OFFER ME!”
Very rarely does anyone actually choose a sin because they think they’ll be MORE MISERABLE once they’ve chosen a sin
Typically, it’s “I know God said this, but I don’t know I think I’ll be better off if I do this other thing”
“If I do contrary to what the Lord has asked me to do.”
IT’S A LACK OF TRUST IN HIS GOODNESS
All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God
“GOD, I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. I DON’T CARE. I WANT WHAT I WANT”
A LACK OF TRUST IN HIS GOODNESS
Paragraph 398 continues, “In that sin, man preferred himself to God. He chose himself over and against God”
That reality is we have to always remember who we are in front of God
YES, YOU HAVE DIGNITY
YES, YOU HAVE GOODNESS
That dignity, that goodness comes from the Lord
THEREFORE, BEFORE GOD, WE’RE ALWAYS AFTER
Does that make sense?? 🤔
BEFORE GOD, WE’RE ALWAYS SECOND
BEFORE GOD, WE’RE NEVER IN FIRST PLACE
HE ALWAYS GETS THE FIRST PLACE!!
HE ALWAYS GETS TO BE THE CENTER OF OUR LIVES BECAUSE HE IS THE SOURCE OF OUR LIVES!!
So what happens?
We sin, and there are tragic consequences
We’re going to talk about those tragic consequences today, both personally and interpersonally
Paragraph 401 says, “After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin.”
That first sin of saying “God, I don’t care. I want what I want.”
Led to MURDER
Led to BROKENNESS
Led to DISASTER IN HUMANITY
AND WE’RE LIVING THAT NOW!!
“After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin.”
That’s where we find ourselves now
It is so important for us to know that we don’t just have brokenness
WE HAVE A GOD WHO ENTERS IN TO BROKENNESS
WE DON’T JUST HAVE SIN
WE HAVE THE GOD WHO CONQUERS SIN AND FORGIVES US OF OUR SIN, WHO HAS TAKEN OUR SIN UPON HIMSELF
And so we call upon that God now in prayer!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in heaven, we trust you. We trust you because you did not abandon us to the domain of death. You did not abandon us. You did not let us go in our brokenness. When we rejected you, you did not reject us. You keep on calling out to us. You keep on reaching out for us. Lord God, you sent the prophets. You revealed your Word to us. You revealed your heart to us. You gave us your son Jesus Christ to atone for sin and to show us the way to you. To send us your Holy Spirit, and so, God, we ask you once again, in the name of your son Jesus Christ, send us your Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the one who convicts us, the one who leads us into all truth. Lord God, send that Holy Spirit to guide and protect us as we walk forward, talking about sin, talking about the reality of sin, knowing that it’s not simply outside of us, but it is truly inside of us. That brokenness is not just around us. It’s in our own hearts as well. So we ask you, please, send your Holy Spirit to mend what was broken, to make whole what has been shattered, and to bring back to life what has died.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen”
Going back to the very beginning, we have Original Sin
Freedom is put to the test
We know that in order to LOVE we have to be FREE
AND GOD MADE US TO LOVE!!
God, if he wants us to be the people he has made us to be he “has to”...
HE HAS TO ALLOW US TO BE FREE
BECAUSE WITHOUT FREEDOM WE CAN’T LOVE
We’d just be robots who were programmed to do what we were told.
God wants us to do what we’re told, but he wants us to do that out of FREEDOM
Paragraph 396 says, “The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust”
Sometimes people look at this like oh, there is a fruit in some garden and you ate the fruit and that's just kind of a childish or silly thing.
We recognize that this tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil SYMBOLICALLY evokes the INSURMOUNTABLE LIMITS that man, being a creature, MUST RECOGNIZE and RESPECT WITH TRUST
We have to recognize that we're dependent on our creator and we're
also subject to the laws of creation and the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.
Just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we OUGHT to do something
Ultimately freedom IS NOT the power to do whatever I WANT
FREEDOM is ultimately the power to do what I OUGHT
I’m not really free if I can just do what I want
Rather, I’m a slave to something else
I’m a slave to my senses
I’m a slave to my impulses
TRUE FREEDOM is the POWER to do what I ought to do
And man violated that
Paragraph 397 continues, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart, and abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command”
That’s what the first sin consisted of
We said all subsequent sin would be DISOBEDIENCE and a LACK OF TRUST
DISOBEDIENCE of God and LACK OF TRUST in his goodness
Paragraph 398 says, “ In that sin, man preferred himself to God and by that very act, scorned him.”
SO sometimes Fr. Mike flips into saying “man” and then “we".
Because here we are as HUMANITY
It’s kind of like all of OUR STORY, even though we have OUR FIRST PARENTS who originally sinned
Fr. Mike hopes you know what I’m saying and you can just go with me on the language!
In that original sin, MAN PREFERRED HIMSELF TO GOD
IN ALL OF OUR SINS, WE PREFER OURSELVES TO GOD
Paragraph 398 continues, “In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned God. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good.”
What are the requirements of creaturely status?
WE ARE CREATURES
GOD IS THE CREATOR
If we’re choosing ourselves, CREATURES, over THE CREATOR, this is a violation of our status
It’s also against our own good because God is the source of all good
So if I’m choosing myself, the RECEIVER of good, against the ONE WHO GIVES GOOD, I am violating MY OWN GOOD!!
It’s just incredible that human beings were created in a state of holiness
Therefore, we were destined to be fully divinized by God in glory
We wanted to GRASP that, NOT RECEIVE it
We’re meant to be DIVINIZED
We’re meant to BE LIKE GOD
THAT’S GOD’S PLAN!!
Rather than RECEIVE that here we are, our first parents, wanting to GRASP THAT FOR OURSELVES
Paragraph 398 continues, “Seduced by the devil, he wanted to ‘be like God,’ but ‘without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.’”
That’s a quote from St. Maximus the Confessor
I want to be like God but without God.
I want to be like God, before God, ahead of him
And I want to be like God, not in accordance with God
I don’t want to do it the way he wants me to do it
We can get that tattooed over our hearts!
Oh my gosh, Lord, THAT IS MY LIFE!
Yeah, I want your promises, the way I want them
Yeah, I want your blessing
But without YOU
How many times does that twisted, distorted heart mark our lives?
I want to be like God WITHOUT God
I want to be like God BEFORE God
I want to be like God, not in ACCORDANCE with God
Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of that first disobedience
We’re going to talk tomorrow about some of the consequences of that first sin for all of humanity
But immediately, they lose that grace of being in right relationship with God and immediately they become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image.
Remember, up to that point, they KNEW that God was a good Dad
Up to that point, they KNEW that God was a good Father
And now, NOPE, he’s a tyrant
Now NOPE, he’s a dictator, a God jealous of his prerogatives
That’s the DISTORTED IMAGE they have and that’s the sort of image that so many of us inherit
Paragraph 400 says, “The harmony in which they had found themselves thanks to original justice is now destroyed.”
control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body
In original justice, original holiness, there were these preternatural gifts that human beings had
this complete unity, control of the spiritual faculties over the material, over the bodily faculties
There’s integrity there and this power that we’ve lost
The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions
Our relationships are now marked by LUST and DOMINATION
Harmony with creation is broken, so visible creation has become alien and hostile to man, aka, mosquitoes 🦟 😂
Creation is now hostile to us!
Up to this point, we lived in harmony with creation and with each other and with God
BUT NOW IT’S BROKEN!!
Now it’s broken
Because of man, creation is broken.
Romans 8:21, “Creation is now subject to its bondage of decay”
And then finally the other devastating consequence of sin
The consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience
IF YOU EAT OF IT, YOU SHALL DIE
That consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true
MAN WILL RETURN TO THE GROUND
And now for the first time ever, Death makes its entrance into human history.
“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” says the Book of Wisdom
For the first time, death makes its entrance into human history
After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin
EVERY ONE OF US IS TOUCHED BY IT
EVERY ONE OF US IS AFFECTED BY IT
From Gaudium et Spes in Paragraph 401, “Scripture and the Church’s Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man’s history”
Every one of us is touched by sin
Tomorrow we’re going to talk about some of those immediate ways that we’ve been touched, marked, affected, and afflicted by sin
Through all of this, GOD DID NOT ABANDON US TO THE DOMAIN OF DEATH
GOD DID NOT ABANDON US IN THE MIDST OF OUR BROKENNESS
IN OUR REBELLION, GOD DID NOT REBEL AGAINST US
IN OUR REJECTION OF HIM, GOD DID NOT REJECT US
So today, as we continue to listen
As we continue to pray,
To walk as followers of Christ, disciples of Jesus
Yes, We suffer these consequences of original sin and the ones we’ll mention tomorrow
We also rejoice in the gifts of Grace that God continues to pour out on us in his son Jesus Christ
And so we have CONFIDENCE
Even in this broken world, we have CONFIDENCE THAT GOD HIMSELF CONTINUES TO REIGN
THAT GOD HIMSELF CONTINUES TO CONQUER
And the first place he gets to conquer in my life is my own heart that has distorted that image of God
He is a GOOD GOD and he is a GOOD DAD
He’s a GOOD FATHER
And so we trust in him
Father Mike is inviting us all because we all have these places in our lives that are just WRECKED
They’re tempted to NOT TRUST GOD
it wasn’t ALWAYS like this
Our first parents got to walk in harmony with God
And that’s what he wants ultimately for all of us, to be back in that right relationship and ultimately to lift us up to that place of divinization.
You don’t have to grasp for it
YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO RECEIVE IT
So that’s what Fr. Mike is praying for
Day 56, we’re still trucking away
But we have to keep pressing PLAY
We have to keep getting up and moving forward
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
CCC 396 "God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die." The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom."
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
CCC 397 "Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness."
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
"For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous."
CCC 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".
"But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
CCC 399 "Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives."
"the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
CCC 400 "The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay". Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground", for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history."
"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle,
and above all wild animals;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
17 ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God."
"Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned"
CCC 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. 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."
Genesis 4:4–10 (RSVCE): And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him."
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles."