Chapter 7 -
1. The fall of the demons
God's creations were
discerned for their inner unity and harmony. The divine love was the
life-giving force for the entire world.
But man did not
remain faithful to that communion with the divine love, and sought to
emancipate himself from his Creator.
However, even before
man's Fall, another fall had taken place among the angels which had been
created prior to the visible world.
«How is fallen
from heaven the Day Star, which used to rise early in the morning!»
asks the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 14:12) and he replies that this was on
account of his
excessive vanity :
He said to himself: «13
“I will ascend to heaven; I will set my throne
above the stars of God; I will sit on a lofty mountain, upon the lofty
mountains toward the north; 14 I will ascend above the clouds; I will be
like the Most High.” 15 But now you will descend into Hades and into the
foundations of the earth!"»
The Lord Himself
mentioned to His disciples: «“I
watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven"» (Luke 10,18).
2. Temptation on the part of the devil
Satan was not
innocent of man's Fall. The Old Testament narrates the incident, with
the following words:
the snake said to the woman, “Why is it that God said, ‘You shall not eat
from any tree that is in the orchard’?” And the woman said to the snake, “We
shall eat of the fruit of the tree of the orchard, but of the fruit of the
tree that is in the middle of the orchard, God said, ‘You shall not eat of
it nor shall you even touch it, lest you die.’ “ And the snake said to the
woman, “You will not die by death, for God knew that on the day you eat of
it, your eyes would be opened, and you would be like gods knowing good and
(Gen. 3:1-5. cmp. Isaiah 14:14).
3. Revolting against God's love
This temptation by
Satan would not have had destructive results if man had remained stable in
his loving union with God. However, he fell into that temptation and
sacrificed divine love for the sake of his personal pursuits.
In order to perceive
the abyss in which man let himself fall into, it suffices to underline that
he had preferred as a rule in his life - not the paternal advice of the God
of love, but the words of the one who had defied God Himself:
«And the woman
(Eve) saw that the tree was good for food and that it was
pleasing for the eyes to look at and it was beautiful to contemplate, and
when she had taken of its fruit she ate, and she also gave some to her
husband with her, and they ate. And the eyes of the two were opened, and
they knew that they were naked...» (Gen.3:6-7).
God had rendered all
of the fruits of Paradise at
the fruit of one tree was not designated by God for that purpose. It was not
offered as a gift to man by his Creator. (Gen.2:17)
Thus, when man ate of that
fruit, he ate something that had not been blessed by God as sustenance.
Consequently, this action by man was not an act of communion with God; in
other words, it was not in accordance with man's nature - in accordance with
the image of God. It was an act of selfishness - or, as it has been
said - an act whereby sustenance was condemned to be in communion with
itself only, and not with God.
With this disobedience of his,
man did not use the material world in accordance with God's will; he did not
make use of Creation but rather a misuse. And it was in this way that man's
revolt against God's love was manifested.
4. Man's alienation
The results of that
disobedience were horrendous for man. His action did not correspond to
his true nature, because man, as an image of the Trinitarian God, was by
nature love. Thus, this action of his towards God could not possibly
be characterized as a mere disobedience, but as a lapsing from human nature
per se - as an alienation of man.
Indeed, God was no
longer man's prototype, his centre and his orientation. Having been carried
away by the counsel of Satan, who is the father of division, man began to
outside of God
the centre of his
actions and his entire life , and to see in God's creations a purpose
outside of their Creator. In other words, he did not perceive that each
thing that is excised from God has no worth whatsoever, nor has it any life
within it; that every thing that ceases to hunger for God dies. (cmp. John
It was thus that man's works also fell into the status of deterioration, as
they had lost their reference to God and consequently had lost their true
meaning. «...cursed is the earth in your labors» said God to
Adam (Gen. 3:17).
Prior to the Fall,
when man was in communion with God's love, his life was a perpetual
participation in the life of the Trinitarian God; a continuous course
towards the deification of man within a full communion with God.
Following the Fall,
man abandoned God's love, seeking deification (theosis) apart from God.
The result was the opening of man's eyes, but in reality it only made him
see his own nakedness (Gen.3:7) into which his own falling away from God's
love had led him (Gen.3:7)
«I have lost the
first-created beauty and my comeliness, and now I stand here, naked, and am
disgraced», as stated in a hymn of the Great Canon.
5. The fragmenting of mankind
From the moment of
his Fall, a huge adventure began for mankind: following the disruption of
the loving relationship with God, which held all of Creation in unity,
everything contained in Creation was also disrupted.
fragmented and turned into an egotistic being, no longer having God as his
reference point. When a child is born, it causes pain to its mother, while
the woman becomes entirely dependent on her man (Gen.3:16)
Worth noting at this point is Adam's excuse-giving; he blamed Eve and
isolated his own responsibilities from her, as though she were something
entirely foreign to him.
whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”» (Gen. 3:12).
How different are
these words, compared to what Adam had said when he first saw Eve, prior to
«“This now is
bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Wo-man, for
out of her Man she was taken."» (Gen.2:23).
The complete unity
which dominated between humankind prior to the Fall - which was an image of
the life of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity - was disrupted, so that
Adam no longer recognized Eve as being the «bone
of my bones and flesh of my flesh» (Gen.2:23, 3:12).
In fact, the
alienation between humans later on even reached the point of fratricide.
The dialogue between God and Cain is characteristic for our topic.
When God asked Cain «where is your brother Abel?», He intended
-precisely- to point out the loss of brotherly unity and the destruction of
the element of love. (Gen. 4:9) However, instead of coming to his
senses and allowing his soul to re-live the tender union of brotherly love,
Cain presented the absolute alienation from his brother as something natural
« “I do not
know; surely I am not my brother’s keeper?”» (Gen. 4:9).
far deeper had changed mankind after the Fall, so that the man saw his woman
and his brother as something separate, as something entirely
foreign, and hostile.
6. The fragmenting of Creation
With man's Fall,
everything around him lost its cohesion and its true destination.
Everything fell away from God's love, which gave them life. They lost
their primeval beauty and ceased to be "very good". Everything entered the
kingdom of corruption and death:
«Then to Adam
He said, [...] cursed is the earth in your labors; with pains you will eat
it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall cause to grow up
for you, [...] By the sweat of your face you will eat your bread until you
return to the earth from which you were taken, for you are earth and to
earth you will depart”»