On the Falls of Mankind

St. Maximus the Confessor ca. 580-662

A righteous person will fall seven times and rise again. (Prov. 24:16)

One must recognize that the righteous person here, the only truly righteous one, is our Lord Jesus Christ. And so, since He is said both to fall and rise in us, by accepting all that belongs to us because of His love for humankind, and our nature fell seven times – first, the transgression of the ancestor; second, the bloodthirsty murder undertaken by Cain (the first one who introduced murder into nature); third, in the generation of Noah, upon which the Spirit of God did not remain “because it was flesh”; fourth, the construction of the tower; fifth, the generation of Abraham, from which only he was truly acceptable to God; sixth, in that [time] of Moses, whose generation had fallen into such a degree of godlessness that he was sent from God as a defender of against such impiety; seventh, the generation [in the time] of the prophets, which surpassed all previous generations in its capacity for evil – and so, since, as I said, our nature fell seven times, the Lord raised it, moved by His ineffable love for humankind, uniting nature to Himself in a hypostatic manner. (Questions and Doubts, 59)

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