Table of contents
The Results of the Fall into Sin and the Promise of a Saviour.
When the first people sinned, they became ashamed and afraid, as it happens with all people when they act foolishly. They immediately realized that they were naked. In order to cover their nakedness, they sewed for themselves clothes from the leaves of the fig tree, in the form of wide belts. Instead of receiving the perfection, equal to God’s, that they had wanted, the opposite occurred: their minds were darkened, their consciences began to torment them, and they lost peace of mind. All this occurred because they knew good and evil, contrary to the will of God, that is, by sin.
Sin changed men so much that when they heard the voice of God in Paradise, in fear and shame they hid among the trees, immediately forgetting that no one can hide from God Who knows everything and is everywhere present. Thus, every sin separates men from God. God, in His compassion, began to call them to repentance, that is, for men to realize their sin, admit it before the Lord, and ask for forgiveness.
The Lord asked, "Adam, where art thou?"
Adam answered, "I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."
God again asked, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"
Adam said, "The woman that Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." So Adam began to pass the blame onto Eve and even to God Himself, Who gave him the woman.
And the Lord said to Eve, "What is this that thou hast done?"
Eve in place of repentance answered, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."
Then the Lord proclaimed the results of the sin committed by them.
To Eve God said, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband" (that is, you must be in obedience to him).
To Adam He said, [Because thou] "hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake...thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee...in the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread" (that is, you will earn your food by heavy labor), "till thou return unto the ground" (that is, until you die); "for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:16-19).
To the Devil, who concealed himself in the serpent, and was most responsible for man’s sin, He said, "Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou..." and He said that between him and man there would be a struggle, in which men will be the victors, specifically: "The seed of the woman shall crush thy head, and thou shalt strike at his heel" (Cf. Gen 3:15), that is, from woman there will come forth an offspring — the Saviour of the world, Who will be born of a virgin, will conquer the Devil and save man, but for this, He Himself must suffer.
This promise of God concerning the coming of the Saviour was received by men with faith and joy, because it gave them great consolation. In order that men would not forget this promise of God, God taught them to offer sacrifices. For this He commanded them to sacrifice a bull, a lamb or a goat, and to burn them with prayer for the forgiveness of sins and with faith in the future Saviour. Such a sacrifice was a prefiguration of the Saviour, Who had to suffer and pour out His blood for our sins, that is, by His all pure blood to wash our souls from sin and make them clean, holy and once more worthy of Paradise.
Here, in Paradise, the first offering for sin was offered; God made Adam and Eve coats of animal skins and clothed them. However, since people had become sinful, they could no longer live in Paradise, and the Lord expelled them. The Lord placed at the entrance to Paradise an angel-cherubim with a fiery sword in order to guard the way to the tree of life.
The ancestral sin of Adam and Eve, with all its consequences, was passed on through natural birth to all their offspring, to all mankind, to all of us. This is why we are born already sinful and are under all the consequences of sin: sorrow, illness, and death.
Thus, the consequences of the fall into sin turned out to be enormous and heavy. People were deprived of the blessed life of Paradise. The world, darkened by sin, was changed. The earth from that time began to produce a harvest only with much labor; in the fields, instead of good fruits, weeds began to grow; animals began to fear man, to become wild, and seek prey. Illness, suffering, and death appeared. Most importantly, people, through their sinfulness, lost the very close and direct communion with God. He no longer appeared to them visibly, as in Paradise — man’s prayer became imperfect.
Note: See Genesis, chap. 3:7-24.
(from: The Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)