The Songs of Men (pt 2)

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By Benedict Sheehan

The Fathers of the Church teach that, before the Fall, Adam was like an angel. In his being, Adam was to be the bridge between the visible and the invisible creations — containing elements of both within himself — and was intended, through loving obedience to God, to raise up the visible and material creation to become a participant in the everlasting angelic hymn to the Creator. Thus, through Adam, there was to be one thunderous sound of praise in all creation, visible and invisible. But Satan, envious of what was to be Adam’s honored position — the one which he himself had formerly enjoyed — seduced Adam and his wife, Eve, into participating in his own rebellion against God. And how did he seduce them? By persuading them to seek beauty, pleasure, glory, and knowledge through the creation alone and not through their, and its, Maker.

Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall not die by death. For God knows in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw the tree was good for food, was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree beautiful to contemplate, she took the fruit and ate. She also gave it to her husband with her, and he ate. [1]

Contained in this brief passage are so many of the aspirations of mankind, both the highest — to be like a god, to have perfect knowledge, to contemplate beauty — and the lowest — to avoid death, to eat, to entertain the eyes. And yet, though God would surely have given them all these things and so much more in due time, Adam and Eve chose to steal them for themselves in disobedience to God’s commandment, seeking their life instead from the material creation. And what was the result? The answer in Genesis is surprising:

Then the eyes of the two were opened, and they knew they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. [2]

For the first time since their creation, and as the immediate result of the Fall, Adam and Eve are seen making something for themselves rather than receiving something that God has made. And why did they need to make something? Because they realized that they were naked — that is, they realized they were deprived of the grace of God which had hitherto covered them in warmth and beauty, both physically and spiritually [3] — and so they required artifice, however clumsy and inadequate, to cover their shame…

Read the full article here.

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