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Original Sin – Death

Now Adam had been conquered, all life having been taken away from him: wherefore, when the foe was conquered in his turn, Adam received new life; and the last enemy, death, is destroyed, which at the first had taken possession of man. Therefore, when man has been liberated, “what is written shall come to pass, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting?” This could not be said with justice, if that man, over whom death did first obtain dominion, were not set free. For his salvation is death’s destruction. When therefore the Lord quickens man, that is, Adam, death is at the same time destroyed. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.457

In the first place, then, in the garden of God he disputed about God, as if God was not there, for he was ignorant of the greatness of God; and then, in the next place, after he had learned from the woman that God had said that they should die if they tasted the aforesaid tree, opening his mouth, he uttered the third falsehood, “You shall not die by death.” But that God was true, and the serpent a liar, was proved by the result, death having passed upon them who had eaten. For along with the fruit they did also fall under the power of death, because they did eat in disobedience; and disobedience to God entails death. Wherefore, as they became forfeit to death, from that [moment] they were handed over to it. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.551

For man had been made a middle nature, neither wholly mortal, nor altogether immortal, but capable of either; so also the place, Paradise, was made in respect of beauty intermediate between earth and heaven. And by the expression, “till it,” no other kind of labor is implied than the observance of God’s command, lest, disobeying, he should destroy himself, as indeed he did destroy himself, by sin. Theophilus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.104

Adam readily chose what was wrong, following his wife. So he neglected what is true and good. On which account he exchanged his immortal life for a mortal life – but not forever. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.369

The question propounded to us by the heretics is: Was Adam created perfect or imperfect? If imperfect, how could the work of a perfect God … be imperfect? And if Adam was created perfect, how did he transgress the commandment? They shall hear from us in reply that he was not perfect [or complete] at his creation. Rather, he was adapted to the reception of virtue. … For God created man for immortality and made him an image of His own nature. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.502

For this cause, therefore, a mediator came – that is, God in the flesh – that the flesh might be able to follow Him, and that He might rescue man from death, which has dominion over the flesh. Therefore He clothed Himself with flesh, that the desires of the flesh being subdued, He might teach that to sin was not the result of necessity, but of man’s purpose and will. Methodius (A.D. 311) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.6 pg.127

God, having made man, … placed him in Paradise – that is, in a most fruitful and pleasant garden. He planted the garden in the regions of the east with every kind of wood and tree. This was so that man could be nourished by their various fruits. Being free from all labors, man could devote himself entirely to the service of God his Father. Then He gave to man fixed commands, by the observance of which he might continue immortal. Or, if he transgressed them, he would be punished with death. Lactantius (A.D. 304-313) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.7 pg. 62

Wherefore also He drove him out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some venture to assert, but because He pitied him, [and did not desire] that he should continue a sinner for ever, nor that the sin which surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and irremediable. But He set a bound to his [state of] sin, by interposing death, and thus causing sin to cease, putting an end to it by the dissolution of the flesh, which should take place in the earth, so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live to God. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 457

The tree of knowledge itself was good, and its fruit was good. For it was not the tree, as some think, but the disobedience, which had death in it. For there was nothing else in the fruit than only knowledge; but knowledge is good when one uses it discreetly. But Adam, being yet an infant in age, was on this account as yet unable to receive knowledge worthily. Theophilus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.104

But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise “they were both naked, and were not ashamed,” inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 455

By means of the second man did He bind the strong man, and spoiled his goods, and abolished death, vivifying that man who had been in a state of death. For at the first Adam became a vessel in his (Satan’s) possession, whom he did also hold under his power, that is, by bringing sin on him iniquitously, and under color of immortality entailing death upon him. For, while promising that they should be as gods, which was in no way possible for him to be, he wrought death in them: wherefore he who had led man captive, was justly captured in his turn by God; but man, who had been led captive, was loosed from the bonds of condemnation. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.456

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