Mortal sin or just sin


I can’t seem to understand where Catholics got the idea that there are mortal sins and venial sin. sin is sin isn’t it. the mortal sins are Lust, murder, adultry, greed, pride, and i know there are more but i can’t think of them. however can someone name a sin that does not involve at least one “mortal” sin?


You have confused mortal sins and capital sins. Mortal sins (may be a capital sin or not) are sins that are done with the following three conditions.

  1. Grave Matter
  2. Full Knowledge
  3. Deliberate Consent.

Sins that are not done with these three conditions are the venial sins. Still a sin but with less serious offense against the law of God.

The Capital sins, (deadly sins to some) the 7 you enumerated, are called as such not because they are the only ones that are deadly but because they engender other sins, they give rise to vices which numb the conscience, harden the heart, and obscure the mind in realization of good and in the pursuit of truth.

Let me give you an example, the capital sin of envy may lead to other vices such as theft, deception, untruthfullnes, etc.


I correct myself. You didn’t enumerate the capital sins. The ones you said are quite mortal sins. Well, they are if they are done with the three conditions I just said.

However, I think I’ve made it clear the concept of venial and mortal sins. :smiley:


There is scriptural support for the idea in 1 John 5:16, which discusses and distinguishes between two levels of sin - sin that is ‘unto death’ (clearly spiritual death, since sin doesn’t always kill the body!) and sin that is ‘NOT unto death’ (which is clearly a lot less serious). We’d equate the sin ‘unto death’ with mortal sin and the sin ‘not unto death’ with venial.

Even on a commonsense level, it should be clear that not all sin is equally serious, and that taking a dollar from your mother’s purse can’t possibly have the same spiritual consequences as stealing a hundred thousand from your boss’s bank account.


Additional scriptural support can be found in such places as Galatians 5;19-21, where Paul lists a number of particularly serious sins that will exclude someone from the Kingdom of Heaven unless they are repented of.

Gal 5:19-21 (RSV) Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, (21) envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


Another compelling argument for the proof of mortal and venial sin is in Genesis, with the story of the fall.


In 1 John 5:16,17 John does not say that the sin leads to eternal damnation. he simply says that at a point God may decide to call his child home after s/he sins. John does not mention any specific sin that leads to death. also John does not say that this sin leads to spiritual death simply death.

gal 5:19-21 Paul is mentioning specific sins that lead to away from God if practiced. however a true Christian would not commmit such acts anyway. in the sense that they would be repentent of their evil doing. john talks about this in 1 John 3:9 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

rciadan could you please explain your answer in regards to the fall.

can any of you give me a sin that you are not in full knowledge of committing?


Are we looking at the same text?

**1 John 5:16-17 **
**“And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. **
**If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. **
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.”

What does DEADLY mean to you?
Spiritual death IS damnation. And stop it with the “true Christians would not commit such sins anyway” stuff. That is the weakest argument there is against the idea of mortal sin. The bible is littered with story after story of people who were in God’s favor and committed mortal sins – KING DAVID being one of them. That is spiritual pride and that is what the Pharissees were guilty of. We ALL have it (concupiscience) within us and ar ALL capable of sin.
As for your question of “giving you a sin that we are not in full knowledge of” - MOST Christians are not theologians and are not sure of what may constitute a mortal (deadly sin). The 3 conditions that ssejllenrad explained must be met in order for mortal sin to occur.
In short, mortal sin causes spiritual death. Spiritual death IS eternal damnation for those of us who die in a state of mortal sin.


How bout a couple more…
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "neither fornicators nor idolaters…will inheret the kingdom"
James 1:14-15 Rather each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.


1 Corinthians 4:3-4 Paul says “I care very little if I am judged by you or any human court;indeed I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”

If Paul could be in sin and not have full knowledge of it - any of us can be in sin and not have full knowledge. A couple of years ago, I started making it a regular prayer to ask God to show me things about myself that He is not happy with; poor behavior or attitudes that I might not be aware of. God is true to His word “Seek and you shall find.” He has shown me things - BIG things that I was totally oblivious to.

If you think that you can’t sin without full knowledge, I suggest you humbly ask God about it in prayer. You probably don’t want any surprises when you stand before God in judgment. I know I don’t.


Mortal means deadly, as in a mortal wound. So a sin that leads to death (spiritual death) is a mortal sin (dealdy sin).


I prefer the Douy-Rhiems: 1John 5:17 “All iniquity is sin. And there is a sin unto death.” I’d say that is pretty clear.

Kra 130 - I will explain myself concerning the proof of Mortal and Venial sin within the text of the Fall; but it will take more time than I have available right now. It might be best if I write it first in WORD and then paste it onto the forums. Please, give me a couple of days. I will have a little time over the weekend to get it done.


Mortal Sins

Venial Sins

The above links give a number examples of mortal and venial sins, the necessary conditions and resolution.

For me, a Catholic, it’s easy to fathom differences in the seriousness of sin. Just as I would evaluate the seriousness of the sins of my child, so too, I believe God evaluates my own sins.

A good protestant friend of mine differs. To him sin is sin and when pressed, he truly believes stealing a pencil is just as bad as murder. In his view, either offense can land you in hell, so they are the same.


And yet, when pressed, what Protestant would say that stealing a pencil is a sign that one was never saved in the first place? :slight_smile: The whole concept that a particularly heinous sin means that you have either lost your salvation, or were never saved at all, belies the insistence that stealing a pencil is the same as mass murder.

I’ve never met a Protestant yet who didn’t, at an instinctual level, believe in the distinction between mortal and non-mortal sin.


James teaches that if you break one part of the law (in this case sin) that you have broken the whole law. For God there are no degrees of sin. He see all sin as the same.


I think that is out of context. James chapter 2 is relating to treatment of rich versus poor, refusal to give charity to the poor, and honoring people for earthly riches, rather than spiritual riches. Guilty of all applies to the the rest of the chapter, where James (James 2:11) compares an adulterer to a murderer. That can hardly be considered any sin is as grave as murder or adultery. For example he goes on in verse 15 to describe the sin of not caring for a brother in need. He doesn’t compare this sin to adultery or murder to failing to give charity does he? Guilty of all refers to a violation so severe (murder, adultery etc. “mortal sin”) that observing all the rest of the teaching of God comes to no avail. It shows contempt for God and breaks the greatest teachings of Jesus of love and charity to your brother.

No, he doesn’t compare the sin of ignoring the needs of the poor to murder or adultery. Again out of context with the rest of Scripture. How can there be a sin for which for which forgivness will be given yet sin which will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31 ) if “sin is all the same”? How can there be a “a sin which is not to death” (1 John 5) and “There is a sin unto death” ?



We were made to live eternally and we will. We will either live in heaven or hell. The only sin I see in the bible that would be considered MORTAL–is not believing in Jesus Christ and accepting Him as your Savior.

Just my:twocents:


I’m not trying to minimize any sin, but, Scripture several places defines differing levels of sin. Leads to death (mortal) and does not lead to death (venial). So, are you saying, failing to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, will be judged equal by God to murdering , raping and blaspheming God? A little harsh.


Apparently, you missed the above post … [list]*]

[/list] … which clearly shows that there ARE different degrees of sin.


Well, as far as what we do here on earth yes. However, I do believe there are varying degrees of punishment in hell. I do not have a clue what they would be because the bible does not go into detail.

When I say not believing I mean that is the ultimate sin that separates you from God FOREVER!!

I do think God is Just and Merciful in His judgement. I believe that someone who is a murderer and not a follower of Christ is going to be punished more harshly in hell then someone who (by our standards)was a good person but still never believed in Christ.
If you also read some scripture it lumps all sinful behavior together. I forget where it is in the NT. Maybe someone else will find it.:o God lumps homosexuals in with murderers and adulterers. I think we need to remember our ways are not God’s ways. Humans give sin different levels as to what we think is fair and just. But God is so far above us that the bible only gives us a glimpse of who God is and how He thinks.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit