Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Fall of Adam

Genesis gives us the imaginative leeway to become each our own Miltons, and create our own explanation for why Adam fell. Me, I think Chesterton was onto something:
‘There runs a strange law through the length of human history—that men are continually tending to undervalue their environment, to undervalue their happiness, to undervalue themselves. The great sun of mankind, the sin typified by the fall of Adam, is the tendency, not towards pride, but towards this weird and horrible humility’ [Chesterton, The Defendant (1901), 9]
Isn't there a sense in which Adam's fall can be seen as a prototype of the 'God helps those who help themselves' ethos? 'I want this thing (whatever it is); I could ask God for it but I probably shouldn't bother him -- he's too big and important to be troubled with such things. Besides, he wants me to think for myself, clearly. I need to take responsibility for myself.'

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