Are there varying degrees of sinfulness? I know of mortal vs. venial, but within those categories, are there different levels of gravity. For example, anger vs. murder, lust vs. rape, contraception vs. abortion, etc. If there are different degrees of gravity, what difference does it make, with regards to heaven, hell or purgatory?
Yes of course there are different levels of seriousness apart from the act itself. For instance if I steal ten dollars from a co-workers beer money box in his desk. This may cause him to drink four less beers next Friday or the effect may not even be noticed. However if I steal ten dollars from a co-worker who needs that money to buy baby food or medicine for their child that child becomes seriously ill because of the delay in receiving the medicine. The second case is more serious because of the effect or consequences of my sinful act of stealing. So along with the seriousness of the act itself the seriousness of the effect is also important. What may seen to be a small sin could be a very serious sin.
Thats exactly what I thought. But the question remains, if there are different gravity levels, why are there only two possible outcomes: heaven or hell? Its as if our court system says either you are innocent or you get the death penalty, regardless of the degree of the crime.
It is insinuated in the Bible that there are differing degrees of punishment in Hell. I often wonder why this doctrine is so vague
it’s more than insinuated in the book of John… he speaks of death dealing sin…
[quote=upbeatjonm]Thats exactly what I thought. But the question remains, if there are different gravity levels, why are there only two possible outcomes: heaven or hell?
Whatever the various degrees of sinfulness, the sins can still be characterized as ones that snuff out God’s life in your soul (mortal) and those that don’t (venial). One who does not participate in God’s life (in a state of mortal sin) cannot enter heaven and is thus consigned to hell. One who does thus participate will be in heaven.
Sin is sin is sin, stealing in my example offends God and harms my relationship with Him. The other side of the sin is how it effects and offends my neighbor and myself. Is there a difference in degree as to it’s effect on my relationship with God? Mortal (death of the relationship) and venial (wounding) these are the two degrees. Think of them as the Spiritual effects of sin and physical effects of sin on my relationship with God, with others and with myself.