Why must we suffer because Adam and Eve’s sin?



don’t consider adam and eve literally. The metaphorical sense shows us that the original sin is more than a single act, it is the corrupting of the human nature to the depraved state. Have you sinned? yes, then you, too, are guilty of the original sin.


With all dear respect to my dear convert friend…

The portion of promethius95945 answer that denies we are to consider Adam and Eve literally is not quite in conformity with Catholic teaching. The Church teaches that Adam and Eve were actual persons and were our representatives when God tested the obedience of mankind.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

**How to read the account of the fall

390 **The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

As regards the main part of your question:

**The consequences of Adam’s sin for humanity

402** All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.”

**403 **Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam’s sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the “death of the soul”. Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”. By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” - a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

Keep in mind that Adam was created as a perfect man. In addition, he was given what are called “preternatural gifts” by God that enabled him to have perfect control over his intellect, will and emotions, and protected him from death and physical harm. With all these advantages, he still failed the test. You and I in our current fallen states never would have had a chance.


ahem… I converted when I was ten. You might as well consider me a cradle catholic for all intents and purposes.

I know THAT, of course. However, one cannot deny that there is most certainly a metaphorical and spiritual message behind the events which transpired in genesis. If we ignore these aspects, then we begin to lose important concepts of the faith.


Children suffer for the sins of their parents. If daddy decides that drink is more important than clothes and books and trips to the zoo, then Little Johnny will suffer. Ditto if mummy decides that it would be good thing to leave daddy and move in with a boyfriend.


That’s not what the asker is getting at… children suffer the physical effects of parents’ sins, but not them spiritual effects. None of us will be judged by the actions (or lack thereof) of anyone other than ourselves… EXCEPT insofar as original sin goes. That’s why i brought up the important aspect of the fact that original sin represents more than a merely sinful act of eating an apple, but rather a change in the entire nature of humanity.


Sorry, I was thrown off by your signature. I meant it sincerely.

I know THAT, of course. However, one cannot deny that there is most certainly a metaphorical and spiritual message behind the events which transpired in genesis. If we ignore these aspects, then we begin to lose important concepts of the faith.

Thanks for the clarification. Perhaps it would have been clearer at first if you had phrased it other than “don’t consider adam and eve literally.”

I’m sure the misperception is all mine. My apologies. :slight_smile:


Probably so… I originally meant to type “Don’t ONLY consider adam and eve literally…” but my brain sometimes goes a little faster than my fingers can keep up with. Mea Culpa.


Posting why must we suffer, also echos Adams reply to God.

Adam answered “It was the woman, You brought me”

not only blaming Eve but also blaming God for putting her there. Literally everyone but himself. :slight_smile:

Original sin, blaming everyone but yourself. Not taking ownership of your actions. Just a simple way to look at it.


I do not see how the notion of original sin is just in any way… to me, it is simply as just as one inheriting cystic fibrosis from two heterozygous carrier parents.

The child did not do anything to merit such a devastating disease, nor the effects of “original sin”.


Because Adam and Eve made the choice that the human race should have knowledge of (experience) Good and Evil. And it’s the same choice that most of us would make if we were given the option.

Whenever you ask about human suffering, you have to ask youself what the world would look like if there were no suffering. If suffering (and death) were simply impossible. Ponder what such a world would look like with less than perfect humans. It’s not idyllic by any means.


Adam and Eve’s sin altered the relationship between God and Mankind. Whereas they were in communion with God prior to the fall, they afterward were unable to be in His presence in the same way - they had changed. Their changed natures - ie inability to remain in the fullness of God’s presence - and an inclination to pursue “things” to fill the emptiness in their hearts which was meant to be filled by the presence of God - has been passed on to all of us. It is commonly referred to as original sin. It is an absense of grace in us rather than the presence of something. As a result of this absence sin’s corruption darkens our choices and appetites and pollutes the world in which we live. Suffering follows immediately in its path…


That’s deep. There are plenty of people that can help you with that one.

But from a common sense approach, I too want to eat from the tree and have knowledge of good and evil. In other words, I want to make my own rules and think they’re ok.

Tip of the hat to VociMike. I didn’t see his response before I posted.


I think there is really something to what Malcom says here. Our personal sins do affect others, not only physically but spiritually as well. Consider the last example above. What the child sees is a sin taking place and takes it as an example of how to act in the world. Even when he becomes an adult and can clearly exercise his will in freedom, he is still influenced by this previous experience.

In fact, these sinful acts have an effect on all of society. Just look at how acceptable divorce and extra-marital sex have become in the western world. Sin begets sin, and it affects us all. Think of the times that you have knowingly led another into sin. It’s not a very happy thought, but most of us have done it. I believe this is one of the important lessons of the Fall of our first parents. It was the first time that sin entered the world. It spiritually affected all subsequent generations.


It amazes me that this stuff was figured out five thousand years ago. I just don’t quite understand it either.


Promethius, but at some point there had to be an “originating” deviance for the deviance in human nature to continue. Origianl sin whether by an original couple (which I believe in) or system had to begin to continuously happen, strengthen and develop a life of its own. Human beings wanted the knowledge to be able to choose, we have been given the freedom to choose, but because of the “flaw” in our nature it is inclined towards not good but evil and its a battle (for the whole of life) to incline more towards "good"
Grace Angel.


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