When did the concept of venial/mortal sin begin?

There are multiple sections in the Bible where Jesus lists certain types of people that will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, however nowadays it is taught that only those who commit said things in a mortal way will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

For example: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers - none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

How did we go from “certain people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven” to “only those under a state of mortal sin will not inherit the kingdom of heaven”?

Those kinds of people are those kinds of people because they committed a mortal sin (fornication, reviling, stealing, etc.).

A mortal sin makes something other than God the final purpose of your existence. In the end, God just gives us what we want when we die - Himself, or not.

That looks an awful lot like a list of people caught in unrepentant mortal sin, to me. I’d say the idea of mortal vs. venial sin has been there since the beginning. The Old Testament contains evidence that there are differences in the severity of sins, and certainly the New Testament epistles (as well as the Gospels) talk about “sins that are deadly, and sins that are less deadly.”

It’s important to understand that everything that the Church teaches today is the culmination or fruition of what was first planted by Christ 2000 years ago. Imagine the Church then as a seed, and the Church today as a massive tree, whose leaves are the fully-developed and much better understood teachings that we have today. There were no changes, only developments in understanding.

But that stuff is only mortal if done with full knowledge and full consent.

Be careful, “full knowledge” means that your conscience lets you know that what you are doing is wrong, and “full consent” mean no one put a gun to your head to commit those acts.

And those conditions are not as hard to satisfy as some people make them to be so. We are masters at justifying sin but GOD knows full well our true intentions. We Cannot be deceive GOD.

:thumbsup: In fact, the consent requirement is usually phrased as “deliberate consent”. In other words, doing it “on purpose”, not accidentally and without coercion.

The concept is support by Jesus Christ himself who said:
47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. 48 But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more. (Luke 12:47-48)

I was taught and also learned from the Bible that any and all sin was mortal, all should be confessed. All infractions make us fall short, Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

I agree, some like to minimize our responsibility with that excuse and your right, we can’t fool God. When we were kids and getting ready to go to Confession, my Mom used to remind us, 'You can fool me and you might even be able to fool Father, but you will NEVER fool GOD. Be truthful." God Bless, Memaw

And the Church teaches that we MUST have a rightly formed Conscience or it is not trustworthy. We can also justify our conscience to suit our desires. God Bless, Memaw


You were taught incorrectly and interpreted the bible incorrectly then.

:thumbsup: that was very helpful. I guess no one in rcia knew where to point the catechumens to the right and thorough answers. I stand corrected now, thanks to Thistle.

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