"Necessary Sin of Adam"


During Easter Vigil Masses, the priest chants these words. Why was Adam’s sin ‘necessary’?


The sin was “necessary” only because it brought about the salvific mission of Christ. BTW, that’s found in the Exsultet – and that belongs to the deacon to chant. It will be done by a priest only in the absence of a deacon (or a deacon who can’t sing).

The felix culpa (happy fault) of Adam is, in the words of the hymn, what “gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

Deacon Ed


:confused: Ok Deacon, now I am confused,:rolleyes: normal for me.

Why would we need a Redeemer in the first place if Adam never sinned? It was the Sin of Adam that I thought caused our fall, if no fall, then no need for a Redeemer.

Please correct my miss-understanding as I have a long way to go in my learning of the faith.


And since the prayer is praising the great Redeemer, the sin is called necessary in relation to Him.

It’s not saying that the sin was absolutely necessary, but that it’s what necessitated such a wonderful gift from God, the Incarnation. There are some who argue that because of the Incarnation we are elevated beyond what we would have been without it, but that’s a matter of pure speculation.

Peace and God bless!


How could Adam have sinned before he knew the difference between good and evil? Such knowledge only came to him and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit.


Something can be sinful without the person(s) responsible being fully culpable for that sin. Objectively, a sin is that which misses God’s objective target . The lack of knowledge of good and evil on the part of the perpetrator doesn’t change the objective sinfulness of the act although it might change the culpability for the act.

That’s the general idea. In Adam’s case, even if he was innocent of the full ramifications of his action, he was informed that his action was contrary to God’s desires. Because he was informed of the consequences and had the necessary control over his actions (unlike, say a young child who lacks impulse control) he was culpable for the sin.

Sometimes sporting analogies are the best…

If Adam and Eve had not sinned it would have been like they played the perfect team game. But they did sin, so Christ had to come in as a relief player and he handled all the positions far more magnificently than anything Adam and Eve could have done. Adam’s sin was necessary for Christ to come into the game and who would have wanted to miss that?


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