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    Adam’s sin – B’reshit

    Adam & Eve under the Tree of Knowledge, Charles Foster, 1897

    Adam & Eve under the Tree of Knowledge, Charles Foster, 1897

    Classical Christianity believed that the sin of Adam changed the genetic nature of humankind.

    Henceforth man was inherently tainted and the only way to rise above this stigma was to adopt a Christian belief system.

    Judaism, being a much more varied theological tradition, does contain isolated sayings about Adam creating problems for his descendants, but even then the way out is by means of Torah, not faith alone.

    But normative Judaism never went so far, and probably the only Jewish consensus on the sin of Adam is that it brought death to the world.

    Previously God had intended man to live for ever, but He said, “On the day you eat (the forbidden fruit) you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17), i.e. if Adam were to eat the fruit he would become mortal (Ramban).

    Death will remain part of human experience throughout the ages of history until the time of the messianic redemption, concerning which the prophet Isaiah says, “He (God) will swallow up death for ever” (Isa. 25:8).

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