The Hebrew word ra often appears
in the Old Testament as both evil and sin. In the New Testament the Greek
is used for “evil” in Matthew 6:34 (KJV and others), but also for
“wickedness” in Acts 8:22: “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray
God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.” Another Greek
word, poneros, similarly is used as
both “evil” and “wickedness” in the English. The difference between
poneros generally the first indicates
what is evil in character and influence, and the second refers more to evil that
causes sorrow, pain, labor, and the like—often used in a physical sense.
Generally, evil refers to Satan's scheme of things and the scheme’s
effects. It is a broad word of origin and source. Sin involves the
Christian hamartiology (from Greek: ἁμαρτία, hamartia, "missing the mark, error"
and -λογια, -logia, "study"), a branch of Christian theology which is the study
of sin, describes sin as an act of offence against God by going against him and his precepts, Christian biblical law, and by injuring others.
The general Christian doctrine is that we commit sins because of the reality of
the presence of sin in the world through the Fall and thus in ourselves (1 John
1:8), because of our nature. The doctrine of the fall comes from a biblical
interpretation of Genesis chapter 3. At first, Adam and Eve lived with God in
the Garden of Eden, but the serpent tempted them into eating the fruit from the
tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden. After doing so,
they became ashamed of their nakedness and God expelled them from the Garden for
and are exiled from Eden.
The story has many interpretations.
Here are a selected few:
1) In Gnosticism, the snake is thanked for bringing knowledge to Adam and Eve,
and thereby freeing them from the Demiurge's control. The Demiurge banished Adam
and Eve, because man was now a threat.
2) J. R. R. Tolkien included as a note to his comments about the Dialogue of
Finrod and Andreth, the Tale of Adanel that is a reimagining of the fall of man
inside his Middle-earth's mythos. The story presented Melkor seducing the first
Men by making them worship him instead of Eru Ilúvatar, leading to the loss of
the "Edenic" condition of the human race. The story is part of Morgoth's Ring.
3)In Philip Pullman's His Dark
Materials series (1995, 1997, 2000), the fall is presented in a positive light,
as it is the moment at which human beings achieve self-awareness, knowledge, and
freedom. Pullman believes that it is not worth being innocent if the price is
4) The Greek version parallels the biblical story,
but with obvious differences. Prometheus (meaning: forethought, divine
reason, consciousness) a Titan, is credited with the creation of humanity from
clay, and who defies the gods by stealing the divine fire and giving it to
humanity to create civilization. Prometheus is known for his intelligence and as
a champion of mankind and also seen as the author of the arts and sciences.