February 11

Many may blame Adam for being so easily persuaded by that wicked counselor and for rejecting the divine commandment, thus becoming the agent of death for us all. Yet to wish to taste a deadly plant before actually doing so, and to desire to eat of such a plant after having learned by experience that it is deadly, are not the same thing. The man who drinks poison knowing that it is poison, and so wretchedly causes his own death, is more culpable than he who takes poison and so kills himself without knowing beforehand that it is poison. Therefore each of us is more culpable and guilty than Adam.

But, you might ask, is that tree really within us? Do we still have a commandment from God forbidding us to eat from that tree? Perhaps exactly that same tree is not within us, yet the commandment of God is with us even now. And if we obey it, and try to lead our life in accordance with it, it frees us from punishment for all our sins, as well as from the ancestral curse and condemnation. But if we now reject it, and choose instead the provocation and counsel of the evil one, we cannot but fall away from the life and fellowship of paradise and be cast into the gehenna of everlasting fire with which we were threatened.

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, 372)

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