If the account of the Fall in Genesis is not to be taken literally, but allegorically, then the question arises: what is the Genesis account an allegory of? Several answers to this question according to which each of us commits our own ‘original sin‘ have been proposed.

One such account was developed by Origen. Origen suggested that souls sinned to varying degrees in a previous existence, and the extent of their sin determined the form of their incarnation. Those who sinned most fell furthest, becoming demons. Those who sinned least are now angels. We humans are somewhere between the two in our sinfulness.

Alternatively, understood original sin as a sinful choice of the noumenal self, an atemporal evil impulse.

Whether theories along these lines can be accommodated within orthodox Christian theology is questionable, but they do offer alternative ways of understanding original sin that avoids certain problems associated with traditional accounts.