I have often wondered what the condition of mankind was before the fall. What were his needs or desires, if any? What was his focus? How did the Creator fuse together the visible body and the invisible soul and spirit to create a living human being? I began my research with primarily the Book of Genesis in the Bible and then consulted what the Christian fathers wrote on man’s condition prior to the fall.
Creation Before the Fall
It can be said that God freely chose out of his love and goodness to create all things out of nothing. God, at a point in the creation, created Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden for them to exist in. They lived in complete comfort, having what appears to be, no apparent needs. The object of their spiritual focus was directed entirely towards God, and not the things of the world.
In the first part of creation, God calls into being, a nature akin to him, that of the angelic hosts and the invisible world. And then he calls into being the material physical world as we know it.
In the first five days of creation, God orders creation by command as in “Let there be” light, firmament, waters, living creatures, etc. However, on the sixth day, there appears to be within the Persons of the Trinitarian Godhead (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) a communicating, a consultation, a deliberation, about the creation of man and how to introduce into life this living being worthy of honor. This is revealed in the following Scripture.
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”
Gen 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
From the Writings of The Holy Fathers
The Christian fathers write about when God formed Adam into a living being, He fused physical matter (dirt, Gr. χώμα ) in the form a body with an intelligent soul, a perceptive spirit, and the presence and grace of the Holy Spirit of God.
The soul can be said is not only the life-force that animates the body, but is a rational component of man endowed with consciousness, capable of cognitive and discursive reasoning. This area of independent thought may be best referred to as the wisdom of man.
The fathers go on to say that the human spirit of man is intimately connected with the presence of the Holy Spirit of God Who abides in us. The Holy Spirit of God brings Christ to live in us as Saint Paul states in the following scriptural passage of Galatians.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…..”
The human spirit, sometimes known as the center of perception, has the intuitive ability to know and perceive the energies and the wisdom of God directly. It is here that one could say that man directly receives knowledge from God, not a thinking process but a direct knowing from God, that intuition, an instant sense of discernment which is often referred to by the Greek Christian fathers as the “nous” or the spiritual heart in the west.
Gen 3:22 “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.”
The fathers continue to describe that man’s original state was higher than the state of grace we presently share from our Lord Jesus Christ. The first-created Adam was so exulted higher than anything we can imagine who was made more perfect by grace and completely and every way “like” God and like God was immortal.
Man was created as the crown all of God’s creation. The entire visible universe was made for the sake of man, and man was made for union with God. Man was meant to participate in God’s life through God’s Divine energies, to be fully and perfectly penetrated by grace, and thus to attain to union with God—a union which the Holy Christian fathers do not hesitate to call deification (theosis).
Adam and Eve were conditionally immortal, that is, if they had not sinned, they could have lived forever in incorrupt bodies and eventually potentially evolving to a point of partaking of the Tree of Life in Paradise. An analogy could be likened to the relationship of a parent to child. Eventually the child grows and evolves into a responsible adult (hopefully) and the parent eventually shares their life and resources with their children.
Adam and Eve before the fall were free from bodily needs of sleep, shelter and clothing; they had no sexual passions as we know them; their eyes did not produce tears; they partook of incorruptible fruits, but did not void bodily waste; they had no afflictions, infirmities, illness, disease, physical defects, or maimings of the body; they knew no hunger, thirst difficulties, labors, sweat, or sorrows; they did not experience physical pain; they were not subject to cold, and heat, or to the elements before the fall man’s existence was akin to that of the angels.
Originally the incorrupt bodies were not the same as our present bodies and they did not have the temperament which makes the flesh denser, mortal, and tough.
Man was not created with the pleasure of desire like experiencing pleasure in created things before the fall; the original man did not turn his desire toward them but instead kept it directed toward God, the natural object of his desire.
Later after the fall, man’s desires turned away from God, to the things of the world as the passions of his desire.
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As an infant, I was baptized as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. However, I would say that becoming a Christian is a work in progress, and I often wonder would there be enough evidence to convict me of becoming a Christian. The Orthodox Church is the ancient Church that Christ and the Apostles established. It is not a religion but rather a way of life. It is not about rules and regulations but rather guide posts to make choices to transition to what we were designed to become. Becoming Orthodox is not a conversion but more so a transformation of self. It’s not about being right: it is about “right being.” In John 14:6, Christ says I am the Way (to love and serve one another), the Truth (there is only one reality), and the Life (that life source is love). I invite you to submit any topics or questions to “Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian” on the website. Join me in finding our way back home to the original teachings of the Church. When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.