WHAT is original sin

WHAT is original sin? Aquinas, I hear, said it was like a king committing a sin and the whole nation thus having shared guilt. But Mary would be part of that kingdom because she is a child of Adam. If original sin is something committed by us with Adam, like some Fathers say we did in the loins of our first father, then why do we say original sin is passed on and Mary was saved from receiving it from Ann, instead of saying that she choice not to sin in Adam’s loins.

There are exceptions. Jesus was also a human and son of Adam (see genealogy of Jesus in Luke).

Original sin is the deliberate disobedience of God’s commandments. Humanity inherited this tendency of disobedience from Adam (and Eve).

Mary was miraculously protected from this inheritance. Jesus was thus naturally protected from this inheritance. Both Mary and Jesus perfectly acquiesced to God’s will (let it be done unto me according to your word / thy will, not mine, be done).

Adam and Eve were created in a sinless state. So were Jesus and Mary.

The chief aspect of Original Sin is to be separated from the life of God in us, to be effectively separated from God. Without God man is lost, dead; with no recourse to the Source of his life as well as the source of his moral integrity, his justice, that which makes us right. We cannot remain in obedience while separated from God-“Apart from Me you can do nothing, Jesus tells us”. And this separation and disobedience is evident in this world everyday, in our lives and the lives of others, in our newspapers, in the lack of innocence we live in the midst of. This is from the Catechism:
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405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 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.

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No, that’s actual sin. Original sin is a state of lacking sanctifying grace and lacking it from the moment of conception. One of its effects is the tendency to commit actual sin, which you have correctly identified.

When we are baptised O.S is wiped away, but the effect of O.S still remains…so how does some, not all O.S be wiped away at baptism. If all is wiped away there would be no effects remaining.

Luke 1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

St Mary gave all the glory to God and said this having an immaculate soul created that way by God and God physically in her womb at that moment. She was crated by Him to be the immaculate portal by which he was to enter the world and save it from sin.

The original Original Sin, committed by the first human person biblically known as Adam, shattered humanity’s friendship relationship with Divinity. Descendants of Adam, excluding the Mother of God, contracted the state of Original Sin, which as you said, lacks Sanctifying Grace aka the friendship relationship of God within us.

We need to be careful to distinguish the before the one and only Original Sin from the after the Fall state of Adam’s descendants.

But doesn’t St. Paul say that in Adam we all sinned?? Where’s that verse!

There’s Rom 5:19:
For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.

But Rom 5:12, which supports 5:19, is nonetheless controversial. Some say that it says “in whom all sinned” while others maintain that it says "because all sinned’, or “inasmuch as all sinned”:
Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world,h and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned*

Either way, the Catholic Church teaches that we inherited the consequences of Adam’s sin: physical death as well as separation from God (death of the soul); mankind lost the original justice that was given it at creation. In this condition, sin is inevitable for man.

I’ll attempt to explain this in the form a summary of things I have read from various sources, including some writings of the Church Fathers…

Original sin describes the fallen nature of man, the consequence of which is death and suffering.

When man was created, he was created without sin, and man was not made to die or suffer. Man had no knowledge of good or evil, and both man and woman were virgins. Man had no capacity to sin, because it was not in his nature. The first sin, therefore, came via an outward attack, in the same way that Satan attacked Jesus during the temptation (both Jesus and Adam were tempted in a similar fashion: with vanity…Satan promised Adam the knowledge of good and evil-- to be like a god).

When Adam sinned, this corrupted man and changed his nature, separating us all from God. Man now has the knowledge of good and evil. God foresaw this, and this is why he created man and woman to be joined in marriage so that man could remain holy, and take part in the creation process by having and raising children. He also gave man the Law (knowledge of good)…all knowledge of good comes from God, and all knowledge of evil comes from Satan. God has the power to create without us, and in fact he can create more people if He wished to do so, and he can create them without sin.

Mary has no sin, because God created her that way. She, unlike Eve, obeyed. Jesus, unlike Adam, did not fall when tempted with vanity.

So that is what original sin is…it is a curse similar to a debt. We are descendants of Adam and Eve, and we are all born with the same nature. It is a debt we are born into. Doomed to die and suffer, it is the wage of sin. We have to pay out debt, but until Jesus (who is God) came along, there was not way we could ever pay the debt of original sin. All of our suffering and our death amounted to nothing really, because only God could redeem us…He had to pay it for us. He knew all this beforehand and has always had a plan. This is why Jesus had to suffer and die (in order for the ‘debt’ to be paid), and for our suffering and death to actually mean something (if we choose Christ), so that we could be saved.

Now, baptism ties into all this, by cleansing us of this curse. We are born into this world as children of Adam and Eve, but when we are baptized we are reborn as children of Mary and Jesus, that is, in their likeness; baptism removes original sin, the barrier that separates us from God. We have the Sacraments also, which are the fruits of the Tree of Life.

According to the Catholic Church, Original Sin is not a description. It is an actual, deliberate, freely chosen action which shattered the relationship between humanity and Divinity. This action precedes the contracted State of Original Sin which descendants of Adam are born with.

When man was created, he was created without sin, and man was not made to die or suffer.

When Adam was created, he was created in the State of Original Holiness and Justice. Thus, it is proper to say that Adam was without sin. However, the gift of immortality was an extra gift given by God.

Man had no knowledge of good or evil, and both man and woman were virgins.

Genesis 2: 15-17 clearly demonstrates that Adam knew the difference between good and evil.

Man had no capacity to sin, because it was not in his nature.

Adam had the same basic nature as ours; therefore he had to capacity to sin as demonstrated in Genesis 2: 15-17

The first sin, therefore, came via an outward attack, in the same way that Satan attacked Jesus during the temptation (both Jesus and Adam were tempted in a similar fashion: with vanity…Satan promised Adam the knowledge of good and evil-- to be like a god).

This is a fair description; however, we need to keep in mind the basic difference between Adam and Jesus.

When Adam sinned, this corrupted man and changed his nature, separating us all from God.

According to the Catholic Church, human nature was not corrupted; it was wounded. This is an essential difference between some other Christian Faiths and Catholicism.

Man now has the knowledge of good and evil. God foresaw this, and this is why he created man and woman to be joined in marriage so that man could remain holy, and take part in the creation process by having and raising children. He also gave man the Law (knowledge of good)…all knowledge of good comes from God, and all knowledge of evil comes from Satan. God has the power to create without us, and in fact he can create more people if He wished to do so, and he can create them without sin.

As we learn from Genesis 2: 15-17, Adam knew right from wrong. In fact, he had to know right from wrong in order to freely commit the Original Sin.

Mary has no sin, because God created her that way. She, unlike Eve, obeyed. Jesus, unlike Adam, did not fall when tempted with vanity.

Yes, Mary, unlike Eve, obeyed God. Romans 5: 12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22 have a clearer description of the comparison between Adam and Jesus

So that is what original sin is…it is a curse similar to a debt. We are descendants of Adam and Eve, and we are all born with the same nature. It is a debt we are born into. Doomed to die and suffer, it is the wage of sin. We have to pay out debt, but until Jesus (who is God) came along, there was not way we could ever pay the debt of original sin. All of our suffering and our death amounted to nothing really, because only God could redeem us…He had to pay it for us. He knew all this beforehand and has always had a plan. This is why Jesus had to suffer and die (in order for the ‘debt’ to be paid), and for our suffering and death to actually mean something (if we choose Christ), so that we could be saved.

According to the Catholic Church, the Original Sin is not a curse similar to a debt. It is an actual, deliberate, freely chosen action which shattered the relationship between humanity and Divinity. This action precedes the contracted State of Original Sin which descendants of Adam are born with.

Now, baptism ties into all this, by cleansing us of this curse. We are born into this world as children of Adam and Eve, but when we are baptized we are reborn as children of Mary and Jesus, that is, in their likeness; baptism removes original sin, the barrier that separates us from God. We have the Sacraments also, which are the fruits of the Tree of Life.

Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, does remove the contracted State of Original Sin. Baptism puts a person into the State of Sanctifying Grace where we are children of God, made in His image. The seven Catholic Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ.

Original Sin Information source: Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, paragraphs 355-421

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I thought this question and answer was interesting, I recently wondered what the jewish faith believed since our own faith comes from the jewish people.

outreachjudaism.org/original-sin/

My sincere apology. I stopped reading when I realized that the beginning of the article was not referring to some of the essential Catholic teachings. Nonetheless, I did skim some of the interesting comments on the Jewish faith. I am not knowledgeable enough to compare the Jewish Faith with general Christianity. Our own faith comes from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The guilt of original sin is wiped away by the infusion of sanctifying grace in baptism but the consequences of original sin such as death, subject to suffering, sickness and disease remain with us in this present life. We will not be fully restored to the original state of Adam and Eve before their fall until the resurrection on the last day.

Yes, I don’t think it was a catholic person who asked the question as such, but the Rabbi answers as though he is referring to the church. Particularly when he refers to man being deprived.

CCC : by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice.

That is our teaching, the jews don’t seem to believe there was a break in relationship with God when Adam and Eve sinned. I never knew this before. :thumbsup:

Human nature is deprived of original holiness and justice is a Catholic teaching.

What turned me off is when he said: “In essence, man is totally depraved, and true free will is far beyond his grasp.” Catholic teaching is that human nature was wounded and not totally depraved or corrupted. Catholic teaching is that man always has true free will within his grasp in order to seek God.

Not sure where you get such a strong opposition from, but I have spent quite a lot of time reading the writings of the Fathers of the church. They seem to say that human nature was corrupted by sin. By human nature, I mean, the way in which we were created in the beginning, before the fall.

Also, I have read that early church fathers likened sinning to debtors prisons, in which you would not get out ‘until the last penny was paid’. All sin is like a debt, including original sin. In Genesis, man is cursed to suffer and die (Genesis 3:17) for the first sin…so there is a curse for original sin (not that original sin itself is the curse…that’s not what I meant, if that’s what you are driving at).

Genesis 2:15-17 does not indicate Adam already had the knowledge of good and evil. God gave him the command not to eat, because through the action of eating that fruit, he would gain such knowledge, and thus die (not because of knowledge, but because of sin). Of course, having knowledge is not the sin, but disobeying God was the sin…but not just simple disobedience as some say, it was the sin of vanity that caused man to fall-- that caused angels to fall— that our Lord was tempted with in the desert.

That said, I respect your opinions and thank you for the response. I will contemplate all you have written.

Yes, as was the state of original justice.

No, that’s conjecture if you’re relating those verses to the meaning of the term “knowledge of good and evil”; evil was something foreign to them; they had no reason to know evil in Eden, in the experiential way that Aquinas reports they’d come to know it if they disobeyed. They were given the knowledge of what to do-and what not to do: the moral law. Trust in God was all that was necessary in order to obey His law. And, according to the Catechism, Adam somehow let that trust die in his heart, believing a lie instead which carried with it the promise of making him like God. *Adam thought that disobedience of God would make him more like God. *Maybe there was a logic in this however, since God, after all, need not obey anyone. It’s also interesting to note that A&E also lacked the direct, immediate, knowledge or experience of God, known as the Beatific Vision. And to speculate, it’s possible that since by eating of the Tree of Life A&E would’ve been acting in such a way as to draw nearer to Him, they’d have at some point gained that experience or immediate knowledge. In any case, since good was all they experienced in Eden, God having created nothing else, the experience of evil was foreign; they could not have known good and evil as disparate aspects of the reality they were familiar with; they only knew the singular existence/reality they were given or created in.

The reason this is important is because it helps explain why God would’ve created Adam & Eve knowing that they would fall, fall into the world that we have now, where a new “knowledge” or experience would be had. While eating of the tree was against His will, and while the “knowledge” gained was worthless in itself as it constitutes the experience of evil along with the good already present, it could nonetheless help propel humanity to it’s final end, indirectly: it could play its part in ultimately getting humanity to choose to align itself with God’s will, to choose God, IOW, unlike Adam’s original choice. Disobedience of God kills.

We’re now in a half-way house between life and death, good and evil, heaven and hell; we’re meant to choose life. Adam was meant to choose life to begin with but he chose otherwise. But God didn’t abandon Adam; He allowed him to learn the hard way that God is trustworthy and true. When the time was ripe Jesus proved this truth in no uncertain terms. The option, between life and death, is still there, but the impetus to choose life is greater now since humanity has tasted death, the ultimate evil that flows from disobedience of God, along with tasting life, the ultimate good that flows from obedience, definitively demonstrated, proven, and offered to us by Christ,

In any case, along with Aquinas Scripture affirms that this “knowledge”, whatever is meant by the term, was gained* after* eating the fruit.

Actually the Catechism teaches that human nature was not totally corrupted. para 405

The Fathers of the Church were wonderful teachers. As teachers, they would use a variety of ways to teach the same subject. It was the Catholic Church Major Councils, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which clarified the “subject” of the teachings.
For example this sentence in post 18. “They seem to say that human nature was corrupted by sin.” This very issue of human nature following the act of Original Sin, was debated by many writers.

By the sixteenth century, the Protestant reformers taught that Original Sin had radically perverted human nature and thus destroyed its freedom. This teaching was dismissed by Major Church Councils according to the wisdom of the promised Holy Spirit.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, paragraph 406 is in small print. According to CCC 20-21, small print indicates “observations of an historical or apologetic nature, or supplementary doctrinal explanations.”

A good suggestion is to study CCC 396 - 409. In addition, one should check the Catechism’s Index of Citations, pages 689 -752 for citations of the Church Fathers.

Genesis 2:15-17 does not indicate Adam already had the knowledge of good and evil.

Pardon me. This is a popular misunderstanding of human nature itself. Common sense regarding human nature and its conscience is needed when dealing with Adam pre-Fall. Personally, I find the problem to be the modern loss of the “difference” between the Creator and the creature leading to the requirements for a real person such as Adam.
Basic Information source. CCC 396
**396 **God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” spells this out: “for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die.” The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

Basic Information source. CCC 1730.
**1730 **God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”
[INDENT]In smaller print.
Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.
[/INDENT]The question we need to ask ourselves is --Was pre-Fall Adam rational with a conscience?

A review of human nature and especially information in regard to the intellective spiritual soul and conscience may prove helpful.

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