Patristic Interpretations of the Fall: Prophecy, Apocalypse, and Tragedy
Christian interpreters from very early on presumed that the Adamic fall was a primordial cataclysm with ramifications for the whole human posterity; but they did not all concur on the precise nature of its causes and consequences. Blowers’ lecture will track three major trajectories of patristic interpretation. First is a tradition viewing the fall as an adumbration of the perduring patterns of human sin, a preview of the continuing reinvention of moral evil, generation after generation, beginning with Adam and Eve. Second is a tradition that understood the fall as an apocalypse of sorts, insofar as it provided a catalyst for revealing the fullness of the Creator’s sacrificial love for his creation and his resourcefulness in sustaining it. Third is a trajectory that acknowledged the fall as a fateful tragedy, one that called into question the very stability of human nature, its penchant to relapse into nothingness, and the fact that human beings were haunted by the very freedom that was supposed to be a gift.