In Adam’s image?

Here’s an intriguing thought about the effect of man’s Fall:

The world, before the first sentient man left the garden of Paradise and looked at it, had not yet been defined by attention — it had been a spectrum of worlds-in-potential that had not yet included humanity, an infinity of possible prehuman histories; but by the time Adam stepped out and turned his attention on it, he had sinned mortally, and so the history that came to the fore as the actual one was a history of undeserved suffering and death. When Adam’s foot touched the soil, when his eyes took in the landscape, it stopped being many potentials and became one actual: a landscape that had been a savage killing ground for millennia.

Light turns out to be particles if you measure for particles; waves if you measure for waves. Adam had helplessly measured for misery. What sort of world would a sinless first man have found pre-existent out there? Animals that had never starved, cats that had never killed?

From a short story called “Through and Through” by Tim Powers, in the anthology Strange Itineraries.

Fr Silouan Thompson

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