Christian-Jewish interpretation of the Fall

Many Christians, Jews, Moslems and others have a view that something happened at the dawn of human history, recognizing that mankind lost its original direction and at a certain point became corrupted and evil. In the numerous and various explanations on the origin of evil and sin, throughout the history of Judeo-Christianity theology, the interpretation of the fall of the angels and the fall of Adam and Eve in sexual terms, is not completely new or exclusively ours, as you probably know.

We find this line of interpretation in the writings of some Jewish rabbis, mostly in the inter testamental period, as well as in those of some early Church fathers and ecclesiastical writers of the first centuries.

The following are several examples that I came across when I did some research for the book "True Love & Forbidden Love"

Clement of Alexandria in the second century wrote: "... the first man of our race did not await the appropriate time, desiring the favour of marriage before the proper hour and he fell into sin by not waiting the time of God's will...they (Adam and Eve) were impelled to do it before the normal time because they were still young and were persuaded by deception." (On Marriage XIV:94, XVII:102-103).

Theophilus of Antioch and St. Irenaeus also considered Adam to be in a premature age when he violated the precept of abstaining from a sexual union with Eve, his future wife.

This was not because it was a wrong action, but because it was inappropriate for their age.

This notion that the fall occurred in a period of immaturity before they achieved perfection is also shared by Peter Lombard, Hugo of St. Victor, Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventura, John Duns Scotus and others in the Franciscan school.

Influenced by some apocryphal books of that period and especially the Book of Enoch, the notion of a carnal relationship between angels and women in the beginning of history was commonly accepted, particularly, in order to interpret verses 6:1-4 of Genesis. Tertullian (160-200) called these fallen angels "Desertores Dei, Amatores Feminarum" - Deserters of God and lovers of women.

Similar interpretations were maintained by St. Irenaeus, Athenagoras, St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Justin and others. However, those ambiguous and incomplete analyses could not offer an effective solution to the serious problem of the original sin.

The "Ambrosiaster", a writing of the fourth century attributed for a long time to St. Ambrosius, but now considered to be an anonymous writing, is a little more specific on this topic:

"...Eve, the first woman, upon being corrupted, lost her virginity against the will of God and everything that was engendered by her appeared to be corrupted, starting with Cain, born of the first disobedience."

"...the devil used Eve to entangle Adam, making him an instrument in order to usurp the supreme sovereignty, which belongs only to God."

"...Adam the first and only man created and promoted by God to universal royalty, with the investiture of the divine image and likeness, accepted the devil's proposal to become like God, deflowering the virginity of his wife Eve, to whom the Lord God had promised the chaste conjugal love of a sacred marriage" (The Original Sin. Eleuterio Elorduy.

B.A.C. 1977, pp. 202, 208, 221)

The "Ambrosiaster" had a great influence on St. Augustine in his interpretation of the original sin. St. Augustine, although he emphasized that the fall was primarily due to the sin of pride and disobedience, deserves our recognition for uncovering also the involvement of the sexual component, as well as his understanding that concupiscence is still the root of the present sinful state of man.

There is the interesting case of Mother Ann Lee Stanley, who officially founded the celibate Shakers. While being imprisoned in 1770 in Manchester, England, she had a vision of Jesus Christ in which he graphically showed her that, in respect to the original sin, the sexual act was the true act of transgression committed by the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden. After this surprising experience, she and her followers settled down in celibate communities in which they lived together as brothers and sisters.

From ancient Jewish sources:

Rabbi Leo Jung, who made a careful study of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic literature on the fall, maintains that all the stories that speak of the adultery of the "serpent" with Eve have some foundation in the Jewish tradition. (L.Jung, Fallen Angels in Jewish, Christian and Mohammedan Literature. 1974, pp 69-78)

We find in the Talmud in Abot de Rabbi Nathan from the second century: "At that time the wicked Serpent considered in his heart and said - since I am unable to cause Adam to fall, I shall go and cause Eve to fall - He went, sat beside her and talked much with her... What did the wicked serpent plan at that moment? He thought, I shall go and slay Adam and marry his wife, and I shall be king over all the world and shall go about proudly and shall enjoy royal pleasures."

Similarly, professor F. R. Tennant of Cambridge University, who made an extensive study of the fall, comments: "It is beyond question...that various stories concerning the monstrous sexual intercourse of Adam and Eve with demons, and especially Eve with the serpent or Satan, were both widespread and ancient among the Jews. (F.R. Tennant, The Sources of the Doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin, Schocken, NY 1968, pp 156)

What is so remarkable about these new revelations, presented now by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, that corroborate the same views mentioned in the past, is the fact that they don't appear as a mere biblical interpretation or as a study of similar theological interpretations, but rather Rev. Moon proclaims with absolute conviction and great authority that these are new divine revelations, received as the result of a direct and intense search in the reality of the Spirit World.

Secondly, these revelations, illuminate and deepen with precise detail, for the first time, the motivation, process, consequences and solution to this first crime or original sin which affected us so deeply and continues to affect us, tragically drawing man and woman in the direction of illicit love. Unfortunately, we have to recognize that deep in man's heart exists a powerful inclination or tendency to seek an illicit or forbidden love.

Best regards. ITL

Jesus G.


Jesus Gonzalez

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Montevideo Uruguay

Tel: 598 2 379396

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