At the fall of mankind, when Adam and Eve sinned for the first time, they not only sinned in violation of God’s commandments, but their whole way of being changed. Their nature was not changed in itself, but the image of God in them became obscured by sin. And sin is a separation from God in our very being. So even though we’re fallen, we’re not totally depraved, but we suffer from the disease of sin which makes holiness a lot more difficult.
All of mankind suffers from the effects of sin (death, sickness, and all evil), even aside from which sins each of us has committed. In Orthodox anthropology, guilt is not our main problem. The problem is that we are sick. So when we talk about original sin, it is understood not as a transmitted guilt for Adam’s sin, but rather as an inherited disease which can be cured in salvation, the dynamic path of growth into God’s likeness.
So for the Orthodox, what does it mean to be saved?
Next Article: Salvation
Adapted from St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.