The Church teaches that Adam and Eve were not only without sin prior to the fall, but had everything they needed to make the right choices. In other words, God did not make them defective in some way, so that sin would naturally follow from those defects. It would seem God made them with everything they needed so that they would be able to avoid sin. So my conundrum was what good could God have given us to protect us that could be used against us?
Many a people will say free will. I’ve even said it, but the problem with free will is that it doesn’t suffice as a reason to sin. Just because I have free will it doesn’t necessarily follow that I will sin. Free will simply gives me the ability to sin, not a reason to; at least not the main reason. It definitely plays its part and I, for one, am thankful for free will. Who wants to be a robot? But I think something has to precede the use of free will: something has to happen, which kicks free will into action. That’s the puzzle.
Lack of or Weak Faith
I’m going to discount lack of or weak faith also, as that would mean that God did not supply them with enough faith to get them past the temptation of the serpent. Now after they believed the serpent, then I would say that they had less or a weaker faith in God than before the fall, but at the time of the fall their faith was sufficient.
I know many people blame pride as the source of much evil and don’t discount that as being true. However, for it to be the initial cause for sin would, in my mind, mean that they were created to fail. As I noted earlier, I don’t believe that is true.
Doubt is the solution that popped into my head while I was puzzling over this question. It does qualify as a characteristic that a person could use to help them guard against sin. For instance, if God told you that if you ate of a certain tree, then you would die and later some serpent came and told you the complete opposite; doubt would be a good defense in that situation. Adam and Eve could just as easily have clung to the truth and doubted the serpent rather than doubting God. It didn’t turn out that way, but it definitely satisfies the criteria that I’ve set down of something meant for our good, but can be used against us. There are other aspects of doubt that makes it a good qualifier.
Doubt acts somewhat like a serpent in that it worms itself in to your thoughts, whether you want it to or not. Once bitten by it, it is very hard to get rid of. That is assuming one wants to get rid of it, but what if someone gives in to or let’s themselves be ruled by doubt? What happens then?
Entertained doubt changes one’s outlook on any subject and opens up possibilities that didn’t exist before. It does this by changing the conclusion of any argument. In the case of Adam and Eve the conclusion went from “you will die” to “you will not die.” You can now see all of the possibilities, if you perform the deed, which you couldn’t see before because before you could not see beyond death. What was once anathema because death would occur now becomes a “delight” and to be “desired.” It is these fancies that beguile or mesmerize us. I call them fancies because if one ignores the truth regarding the resulting consequences, then it is fanciful thinking rather than sound thinking.
And lastly, doubt is subtle. The subtlety of doubt and why we should be aware of doubt is what I will discuss in part two.
May we all cling to the truth! God bless!
The lovely apple photo was provided by Roberta Sorge @Unsplash. She composes such lovely photos. I just love her work.