FALL OF MAN, a commonly received doc trine of Christianity, founded upon the his torical narrative contained in the third chapter of the book of Genesis, together with the al lusions to the same matter in other parts of Scripture. The history of the fall, as given in Genesis, contains the following particulars : God having placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and forbidden them under pain of death to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve, tempted by the serpent, first ate of the fruit herself, and after ward gave of it to her husband, who followed her example. Both were driven out of Eden. Punitive sentences were passed upon each of them, and upon the serpent, which is alluded to by Saint Paul as representing the devil. In the subsequent narrative the consequences of the fall significantly appear. The first man born of the original pair is a murderer, and his de scendants grow in wickedness until a flood is sent to carry them away. As might be expected, this most suggestive narrative has given rise to inexhaustible controversy. The opinions on the fall may be divided into three classes : those which reject the narrative altogether; those which accept it as a mythical or allegorical ac count of the origin of evil; those which regard it as in the main historical. As a mere matter of literary criticism, the uninterrupted flow of the narrative down to times and events evidently historical, together with the uniformity and so briety of its style, leave little ground for the supposition that the writer himself supposed he was dealing in allegory. The historical view of the fall, besides the theoretical controversies to which it gives rise as to its account of the origin of evil, encounters difficulties from two sources — the modern sciences of chronology and ethnology. In the meantime these remain difficulties only as these sciences are by no means in a state of sufficient maturity to allow their conclusions to be absolutely applied. It is remarkable that in most mythologies the ser pent is worshiped as a beneficent being, though Tylor shows that Aji Dahaka of the Zarathus trians (Zoroastrians), which is a personification of evil, may have an historical connection with the serpent of Eden. With regard to the relation of man's fall to that of Adam, Saint Paul says by one man's disobedience many were made sinners' (Rom. v, 19), and gas by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned" (ver. 12). It seems im possible to reconcile the constant appeals made in Scripture to the moral nature of man with the notion that that nature is inherently and radically corrupt. It would also appear that the
statements of Scripture with regard to the actual moral condition of man, strong as they are, do not absolutely require this mode of ac counting for them. Without supposing any radical change of man's moral nature, or even any change of it whatsoever it is only necessary to suppose a change in his relation to God to explain all that is said regarding him. It is supposed that man's moral nature consists of capabilities which are good or bad according as they are directed, and that God himself is the ob)ect of all its highest aspirations. The fall being supposed to consist in the alienation of man from God, it is easy to perceive that all these aspirations, being deprived of their proper objects, must apply themselves to improper ones, and become evil in their tendency; hence the sudden rise of pride, selfishness, ambition and all evil passions. In as far also as man's nature is affected by the hereditary transmission of qualities it might become actually vitiated in its tendencies and this, together with the accumula tion of evil habits, would produce those climaxes of violence or corruption which have from time to time convulsed or disintegrated society, which have called forth the denuncia tions of prophets and by their very excesses have _produced a reaction, which, however, has left human nature as incompetent to guide itself as ever and ready, after a period of re pose, to progress toward another crisis. The fall, according to this view, consists in the moral inadequacy of man's nature when left to itself, and the actual evils flowing from this inade quacy. It is argued by theologians that in the original sentence pronounced on the trans gressors there is contained the promise of a redemption and they maintain that the whole scope. of Scripture is directed to the develop ment of this promise and of the scheme of providence associated with it. It is from the New Testament, however, and not from the Old, that the whole doctrine of the fall has been built up. Milton seized on this as the groundwork of his nvo great poems. (See ADAM ; ORIGINAL SIN). CODSUII Brown, 'Chris tian Theology in Outline) (New York 1906) ; Fisher, 'History of Christian Doctrine) (ib. 1896) • Clarke, 'Outline of Christian Theology) (ib. 169) ; Harnack, (History of Dogma) (Bos ton 1899) ; Macicintosh, 'Christianity and Sin) (New York 1914).