Fall of man  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In Christianity, the Fall of Man, or simply the Fall, is believed to refer to the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience to God. In the creation myths of Christianity, the first humans, Adam and Eve, live at first with God in a paradise, but are then deceived or tempted by another creature to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil from which God had forbidden them to eat. After doing so, they become ashamed of their nakedness and God consequently expels them from paradise. The Fall is not mentioned by name in the Bible, but the story of disobedience and expulsion is recounted in both Testaments in different ways.

In other religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and Gnosticism interpretations of the Fall vary.

In Christianity, Fall of Man can refer to the wider theological inferences for all humankind drawn from Eve and Adam's sin, which was called original sin, such as the biblical teachings of Paul.

Some Christians believe the Fall corrupted the entire natural world, including human nature, causing people to be born into original sin, a state from which they cannot attain eternal life without the gracious intervention of God. Protestants hold that Jesus' death was a "ransom" by which man was made forever free from the sin acquired at the Fall, and other denominations believe that this act made it possible for man to be free without necessarily ensuring it.

The term "prelapsarian" refers to the sin-free state of humanity prior to the Fall. It is sometimes used in reference to sentimental recollections of a past time when conditions stood in sharp contrast to the present; this situation is called nostalgia.

Fiction

  • In William Shakespeare's Henry V (1599), the King describes the betrayal of Lord Scroop – a friend since childhood – as being "like another fall of man", referring to the loss of his own faith and innocence the treason has caused.
  • In the novel The Fall (1956) by Albert Camus, the theme of the Fall is enunciated through the first-person account given in post-war Amsterdam, in a bar called "Mexico City." Confessing to an acquaintance, the protagonist, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, describes the haunting consequence of his refusal to rescue a woman who had jumped from a bridge to her death. The dilemmas of modern Western conscience and the sacramental themes of baptism and grace are explored.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien included as a note to his comments about the Dialogue of Finrod and Andreth (published posthumously in 1993), the Tale of Adanel that is a reimagining of the Fall of Man inside his Middle-earth's mythos. The story presented Melkor seducing the first Men by making them worship him instead of Eru Ilúvatar, leading to the loss of the "Edenic" condition of the human race. The story is part of Morgoth's Ring.
  • In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series (1995, 1997, 2000), the Fall is presented in a positive light, as it is the moment at which human beings achieve self-awareness, knowledge, and freedom. Pullman believes that it is not worth being innocent if the price is ignorance.
  • The novel Lord of the Flies explores the Fall of Man. The storyline depicts young innocent children which turn into savages when they are stranded on a desert island. Lord of the Flies was originally named 'Strangers Within', also showing his views of human nature.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fall of man" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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