Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Are we born with Adam’s sin or the fallen nature? What is the difference between the two?

We are born with Adam’s sin, also known as the original sin, and with its consequences. God told Adam “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17). The inescapable, inevitable law of death, which resulted from Adam’s  transgression, prevailed upon us.  Being born of a dead person we are automatically born dead.

It is like in the case of a child when born of a mother with AIDS, he will inevitably be HIV positive.  Likewise we are born with Adam’s sin and with his corrupt nature.

St. Athanasius says “When once transgression had begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God. God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death entered into the world. When this happened, men began to die, and corruption ran riot among them and held sway over them to an even more than natural degree, because it was the penalty of which God had forewarned them for transgressing the commandment. Indeed, they had in their sinning surpassed all limits; for, having invented wickedness in the beginning and so involved themselves in death and corruption, they had gone on gradually from bad to worse, not stopping at any one kind of evil, but continually, as with insatiable appetite, devising new kinds of sins. Adulteries and thefts were everywhere, murder and rapine filled the earth, law was disregarded in corruption and injustice, all kinds of iniquities were perpetrated by all, both singly and in common.”

You can read more about this topic in St. Athanasius’ book “On the Incarnation” available online
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