Out of everything created in the world by God – the universe, the stars, the sun, the earth, the light, the darkness, the water, the plants, the creatures of sea and land – His greatest creation was man. Why? Because He breathed His own spirit into the soul of man. Man is the only worldly creature that is blessed with an immortal soul. Like God, man has the ability to think and to love.
In addition to an immortal soul, God gave our first parents, Adam and Eve, the preternatural gifts of integrity, bodily immortality, and infused knowledge. The definition of preternatural is “that which is beyond the natural but is not strictly supernatural.”
The preternatural gift of integrity (the absence of concupiscence) gave Adam and Eve the natural ability to control their desires and passions. Although they could be tempted form outside forces, they could not be tempted from within. The preternatural gift of bodily immortality meant that Adam and Eve possessed bodies that would never die. The preternatural gift of infused knowledge meant that they did not have to study, work, or sacrifice to obtain knowledge. They were created with some knowledge of God and complete knowledge of the secular world.
It was that first sin – the sin of Adam and Eve – that destroyed the preternatural gifts of integrity, bodily immortality, and infused knowledge.
The Book of Genesis tells us about their first sin:
Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.
And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. Genesis 3:1-6
God commanded Adam and Eve not to “eat” or “touch” the fruit of the tree. Before she physically touched the fruit, Eve gazed upon it with her eyes. After gazing upon the fruit, she saw it was “good” and “fair” and “delightful.” Before she “touched” the fruit with her hands, she “touched” it with her eyes. There is a three part sequence to most sins: eyes ? imagination ? hands. The serpent knew that in order to persuade Eve to touch and then eat the fruit, he first had to get her to look at and desire the fruit.
The first lesson we should learn from the original sin of Adam and Eve is to never engage in a conversation with the serpent (the evil spirit), who is superior to us in intelligence. The second lesson is to cut off all temptations at the point where the three part sequence of most sins begins – our eyes.