The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Was humanity perfect before the fall?

The curiosity is over what made man fall, if they were in a state of perfection and just willed imperfection, therefore falling into sin. Or if there really was a perfect state. I know there is also the interpretation of the fall in the form of being born innocent, and with growth losing ones innocence. Even in Matthew 18:3 Jesus uses a child as a prime example of what it takes to enter into the kingdom. In the sense that a child is more willing to believe. I do agree that the process of growing up makes belief weaker, which i would say it is moreso because of the more evil one starts to experience. Others say it is knowledge as the real culprit for unbelief. Yet I cannot help but wonder why evil and intellectual knowledge would have the power to take ones faith away. It has me wondering if God is trustworthy if faith in God can be so easily damaged by something like evil.

If you put in the keywords “was adam and eve created perfect”, you might find divided opinions.

For example. In Question: Were Adam and Eve created perfect? If so, how could they sin? If they were created with a will that could choose to sin, how could they have been perfect?, it says this:

It think it would depend on what the bible defines as “perfect”. And when and where the word was introduced, and in what context and circumstances. And if it was directly referred to, in the creation story.

The curiosity is over what made man fall, if they were in a state of perfection and just willed imperfection, therefore falling into sin.

Where does it say they were perfect? or that they fell? As soon as Eve saw the tree she desired it, she lusted after it before Satan said a word she committed all the sins of the world according to John. The pride of life, lust of the flesh and the eyes (1st John 2). That was just who she was, the desires were already in her and she had Adam’s DNA.

I believe Adam and Eve were created perfect by grace. We know it was grace because you can’t deserve to be created. Therefore, it was also grace that sustained their hearts. For justifiable reasons only known to God - He removed all His restraints from Adam and Eve’s hearts and they acted according to their own corrupt desires and will. That is to say, they chose to sin because they wanted to. God let them do what they wanted to do in committing evil.

This passage from John Stuart Mill is appropriate on many occasions, and looking back over this thread I think works here as well:

“The beliefs which we have most warrant for have no safeguard to rest on, but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded.
If the challenge is not accepted, or is accepted and the attempt fails, we are far enough from certainty still; but we have done the best that the existing state of human reason admits of; we have neglected nothing that could give the truth a chance of reaching us; if the lists are open, we may hope that if there be a better truth, it will be found when the human mind is capable of receiving it; and in the meantime we may rely on having attained such approach to truth as is possible in our own day.
This is the amount of certainty attainable by a fallible being, and this is the sole way of attaining it.”

So I do not think belief necessarily weakens as we mature; it actually can get stronger if we are willing to be challenged and then to find out if the challenge itself can hold up to our scrutiny.

I guess the disturbing implication is how we can be sure to eternally be perfect and not have another fall of man occur in heaven.


Because those in heaven are confirmed in God’s grace. The Bible tells us heaven lasts forever and ever. All desires for sin are removed from those in union with Christ in the new creation. They will freely choose what they want but because all desire for sin is removed they will be like God in that it will be impossible for them to sin.

I think there is some misunderstanding concerning the word “perfect”. It doesn’t mean “flawless”; it means “complete”.

  1. A house is not yet completed, but the excellent carpenter has made no errors so far. This house is not yet perfect, but it is flawless.

  2. A house has been completed, but the carpenter has made many mistakes. This house is perfect, but flawed.

Before the fall Adam and Eve were created flawless. They remained flawless, until they gave in to Satan. But, before the fall, they were immature mentally, and thus not perfect.

All of us are presently flawed. But, “He who has begun a good work in you, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Salvation from sin is a process. We will some day be complete (perfect). And I think at that time, flawless, too.

Adam and Eve had a childlike innocents.

If one really thinks about it, having that good and bad knowledge is no guarantee that one will choose or incline towards the good. After all, that’s what the serpent omitted in his speech, before Eve ate off the tree of knowledge of good and bad. The serpent said, “You are not going to die, but Yahweh knows that as soon as you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings, who know good and bad.” It’s true in one sense, but false in another; the serpent sort of omitted to point out, that its the power of moral choice alone, that is Yahweh like. The very action that brought Adam and Eve a Yahweh like awareness of their mortal autonomy, was an action that was taken in opposition to Yahweh. Yahweh knows that, that human beings will become like Yahweh, knowing good and bad; it’s one of the things about Yahweh, he knows good and bad, and has chosen the good. For Adam and Eve to have true freedom of will, Adam and Eve have to have the freedom to rebel. This is why this tree is in the garden, next to the tree of life; instead, evil will come about as a result of the clash of the will of Yahweh, and the will of humans, who happen to have the freedom to rebel.

Human beings, and only human beings are the potential source of evil, responsibility for evil will lie in the hands of human beings. Yet, evil is represented not as a physical reality, it’s not built into the structure of Eden, evil is a condition of human existence, and to assert that evil stems from human behavior. The drama of Adam and Eve’s life should revolve not around the search for eternal life, nor preoccupation with immortality; it was not in Yahweh’s design for this kind of drama. It was Yahweh’s design for the tree of life to have been eaten of, there was no danger to Adam and Eve going on eternally, being immortal. The eating off the tree of knowledge of good and bad, has caused a moral conflict and tension between Yahweh’s good design for creation, and the free will of human beings that can corrupt that good design. Evil is a product of human behavior, not a principal inherent in the cosmos. Man’s disobedience is the cause of the human predicament. Human freedom can be at one and the same time an omen of disaster, and a challenge, and opportunity.

So despite Adam and Eve’s newfound mortality, humans are going to be a force to be reckoned with. They’re unpredictable to the very Yahweh who created them. Yahweh has to modify his plan, by barring access to the tree of life; that was not something presumably Yahweh planned to do. Adam and Eve had access to this tree up to that point, as long as their will conformed to the will of Yahweh, there was no danger to their going on eternally, being immortal. Once they discovered their moral freedom, once they discovered that they could thwart Yahweh and work evil in the world, and abuse and corrupt all that Yahweh had created, then Yahweh could not afford to allow them access to the tree of life. That would be tantamount to creating divine enemies, immortal enemies.

So Yahweh must maintain the upper hand in his struggle with these humans who have learned to defy him. And Yahweh maintains the upper hand in this, the fact that humans eventually must die. Yahweh stations the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword to guard the way back to the tree of life, once Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. The tree of life is now inaccessible; no humans have access to immortality, and the pursuit of immortality is futile. So it might be then that Yahweh really spoke the truth after all, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad did bring death to the human race.

I guess the other question is why evil has such an effect on the human race. Such as why coming into contact with evil easily tempts people so badly. Like why are inclinations are to seek out revenge if someone hurts us. Or why we respond to belittlement with pride.

The nature of evil is a deep philosophical and theological question. First you need to define it, as it can be an abstract word And this topic has been debated and studied, on other forum threads here. And by great thinking philosophical and theological minds - both contemporary and throughout history.

I was going to post basically that. Adam and Eve were sinless, but not finished yet. :slight_smile:

I would subscribe to the theory that Evil is nothing more than the absence of Good, and can only exist if there is good. I dont know who it was who first stated this, but I think a Church father. I know its widely believed by the Eastern Christians. I would best describe it like death as an evil because a life was lost, and how we only miss the dead after they die, but dont miss people before they are born, and dont see it as a loss if they never existed. I have heard Evil called a parasite, that once it feeds on the good, the evil dies with the good. So I agree that evil is an absence, even though it can be experienced as something

This idea comes from such examples as cold is nothing more than the absence of heat. But I don’t think evil fits this category at all.
Let’s say that there is an absence of good in Joe Bloe. He has never helped a neighbour, or given to the poor, etc. But he could not be classified as an evil person, for he never harmed a neighbour or stole money or killed anyone, etc.

Anyone who habitually commits such evil acts as harming, stealing or killing, is an evil person. An evil person actively commits evil acts. If his life merely lacks goodness, and he sits back and does nothing either good or bad, he cannot be classified as either good or evil. The lack of goodness in him does not necessarily imply that he is evil.

Interesting discussion, mind if I jump in?

Would Joe Bloe react with horror at the suggestion that he murder someone? Then there is not an absence of good in him; there is simply not enough good in him to motivate him to help the poor, etc. If he would be fine with murder, or objects to it on merely selfish grounds (i.e., that he’d be arrested) then his abstinence from murder is not a credit to him; he is morally just as badly off as if he had already murdered someone. It’s my position that he would in that case be dealing with an absence of good in him, probably in the form of a lack of empathy. What are your thoughts on that scenario?

I like that theory. Today I was discussing the current American presidential candidates. I said instead of voting for the “best” candidate, we will vote for the one “the least bad”. This thought fits in well with this theory. Now I’m off to have Chinese, with one of the political fund raisers. :exclamation: :laughing:

I like the way you think Anna. It agrees with Pope Francis:

Question 2: Did the fall happen in Historic time? Considering that the scriptures affirm that all of creation is groaning in pain.

I can’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve.

I believe in a literal Adam and Eve. The account of their lives is written in anecdotal form. There is nothing in the account indicating that the author was using figurative language or that he intended the story as a parable to represent something else.

And yes, I believe the Fall occured in historic time (the only time there is).