Why do we have to inherit Original Sin from Adam?

Just because a person has a disease, doesn’t mean it’s because of something an ancestor did…is it?


Even on a natural level it can be. HIV is an example of a virus which can be passed down.

I’ve always wondered about the equity in this too, but it doesn’t matter how I feel about it, when Adam and Eve sinned, they got what they asked for–“the knowledge of good and evil” and that knowledge is passed down spiritually to all their offspring in what we call original sin.

Yeah, which is why a lot of protestant groups don’t accept the doctrine of original sin. It pretty much states that God will hold you responsible for the sins of others, and you will be punished for something you had absolutely no power to change.

If Gods all Good, why would he do that? So yeah…It’s never made any sense to me.

I accept that people are tainted with original sin, but I don’t accept the story in Genesis 2-3 as a literal, historical account (and neither does the Catechism of the Catholic Church – see sections 289 and 390). However, it is true that from its very origins, humanity has universally been affected by original sin.

You asked about the inheritance. Here are section 404 and 405 of the Catechism:
*"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."*

To me, this is a statement of anthropology, not literal propagation. St. Paul introduces original sin through a contrast with the salvation we have in Christ in Romans 5:12-21.

As St. Augustine conceived original sin, it’s also a very solid response to the problem of evil. In other words, it answers the question: if God is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, why is there suffering in the world?

If there is no Original Sin, how does one explain the existence of sin?
If there is no Original Sin, what did Christ die for?


The reality of sin

386 Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

387 Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.

Original sin - an essential truth of the faith

388 With the progress of Revelation, the reality of sin is also illuminated. Although to some extent the People of God in the Old Testament had tried to understand the pathos of the human condition in the light of the history of the fall narrated in Genesis, they could not grasp this story’s ultimate meaning, which is revealed only in the light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.261 We must know Christ as the source of grace in order to know Adam as the source of sin. The Spirit-Paraclete, sent by the risen Christ, came to “convict the world concerning sin”,262 by revealing him who is its Redeemer.

389 The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the “reverse side” of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ.** The Church, which has the mind of Christ,263 knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.**

Actually the Council of Trent states clear that it is about Propagatio, sed non imitatio. We are all conceived in sin. And it is literally passed from parents to child. Original sin deformed human nature to turn away from God. This was Satan’s original intention, to interfere with God’s plan in regards to men.

Adam and Eve were created in a state of natural bliss. This was the earthly paradise. Through original sin they, and we, have lost that state, and were, afterwards, in a state of corruption, a fallen state. God sent his only begotten Son to redeem us, for the price of the original sin was death. He came to pay the debt, for us, thus elevating us to an even higher state. This we call a state of grace and opened the way to supernatural bliss, the heavenly paradise.

Think about the propagation of the original sin to all men something like this:

A man has a great shop. All is going well, he’s making money, he and his wife are happy. One day he makes a bad call. He goes bankrupt. Everything goes bad from there onward. They lose the house, are broke. A child is born. The child inherits all this bad stuff, not because of something he did, and is in no way responsible, but suffers because of the bad choice of his father.

You got it all wrong. God won’t make you responsible for original sin. That would be horrible. Because of original sin your view and thinking is clouded.
Would you say that all who lived before Christ are damned? Even the Patriarchs, the Prophets or other people of good will? Or the hundreds of million of children that were aborted in the last 50 years are all damned?
Think about it.

As the Catechism quotes above illustrate, it is ultimately about the fact that we are all part of the same human family.

Think about it this way. If we did not inherit Adam’s sin, neither could we inherit the grace of salvation won for us by Christ.

Yes, the Exultet says it very well, O, felix culpa. I don’t know the exact English translation, but it goes something like: Oh, happy fault.
Indeed, that we are able now to get to see God face to face.

CCC 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.

Those who lived before Christ were also tainted by Original Sin. Not the sin itself, but the consequences of sin. They were descendants of Adam just as we are! But, like us, they were also redeemed by Christ’s Resurrection.

All good and well, BUT we were NOT redeemed by his Resurrection, but by his death on the Cross. After his death he descended into the abode of death to release the prisoners there. The ones who were awaiting Redemption. Resurrection is the defeat of death, not of sin, which is sin’s consequence. God bless!

I have several questions about your explanation here. I will post them in a separate thread. I hope you’ll comment there. :slight_smile:

hello – i tell my family – original sin understanding is simple-- we are all born without being spiritually in communication with God- when we get born again-- we can “log-on” to this spiritual address-- –

when i talk to God – i get answers – in dream and visions and instruction-- and i have examples-- like when – God sent me to a particular city – to do ministry-- and i went and applied to a walmart to work on the side… and after i did the 1st interview-- they called me up on the phone and said that they wanted to do a 2nd intereiew-- and after i agreed to do that-- and hung up the phone–

The Holy Spirit God – spoke to me and said – well if you do that job it will interferer with what i want you to do-- and so i asked God – what job did he want me to take-- and God said – i want you to apply to the christian radio station and be a D.J.

so i cancelled the walmart job and did what God told me to do–

when you get born again and have a personal relationship - you no longer have the original sin of being out of touch with God-

ther is a “big deal” made about john the baptist haveing the holy spirit- in his mothers womb-- and i think also mary-- if viewed as having the Holy Spirit –

but religious “Dogma” seems to confuse the issue-- as people can be taught to believe any thing-- if they do not get the baptism of the HolySpirit

Without the Resurrection, the cross loses it’s value and beauty. If Jesus were just another mortal who got in the cross hairs of the high priests and Romans and was crucified as a criminal, died, was buried and end of the story, it would indeed be just that and nothing more: the end of the story. As the old saying goes, “We are a Resurrection people! Allelujah!”

Check here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=889189 :wink:

I read your link and will stand by what I said. If all Jesus did was die on the cross for committing blasphemy, then our entire faith is evil–not holy and good. The Resurrection is what put the passion, crucifixion and death of Our Lord into a correct perspective. It’s what makes the Cross so meaningful and proves that God came among us and our response was to murder Him. The Resurrection is what gives the Cross its purpose and meaning.:thumbsup:

The real Adam’s human nature is an unique unification of both the spiritual world (rational soul) and the material world (decomposing anatomy). In love, God created Adam in the state of Original Holiness, which is the state of Sanctifying Grace. He also gave Adam the extra gift of immortality which means that Adam would not have to suffer and die. It is important to realize that this special gift was totally dependent on Adam remaining in friendship with his Maker.

The only way that Adam, the creature, could remain in God’s friendship was in free submission, obedience, to God. When Adam deliberately scorned his Maker by choosing himself over and against God and against his creaturely status, he shattered humanity’s relationship with Divinity. Therefore, not only did Adam lose his friendship status, but also his material anatomy returned to its material state, that is, Adam lost the extra gift of immortality and freedom from suffering.

Adam’s wounded human nature, (still loved by God), would be transmitted to his descendants in the contracted state of Original Sin. It is the Sacrament of Baptism which erases the state of Original Sin so that a person is now in the state of Sanctifying Grace. However, the material consequences of Original Sin remain in our human nature.

It is understandable to wonder why our human nature has to suffer because of the one person Adam. Personally, I would like to slap Adam upside the head. On the other hand, God created Adam as the first parent so that all humankind is in Adam “as one body of one man.” This means that Adam had received Sanctifying Grace not for himself alone but for all human descendants. When Adam deliberately lost the state of Sanctifying Grace, God did not abandon future humanity. God immediately promised a Redeemer Who would reconcile humanity with Divinity.

God did not take away our dignity as a person who can initiate and control our actions. God did not stop calling all humans to share in His divine life. We are still in the “image” of God. Humankind was originally created so that each of us could freely seek the presence of God here on earth and in heaven. We need to face the fact that our inherited human nature does not have the extra gift of freedom from material suffering and death. It is through its Sacraments, that the Catholic Church gives us the strength (grace) to overcome our inheritance. Life is a spiritual battle and we have the freedom to win.
[INDENT]Two men looked out from prison bars.
One saw mud, the other saw stars.

I would disagree with you on some basis. Not one single day from Jesus’ life can be taken out, nor one single aspect. You cannot have the Resurrection without the cross. And let me humbly correct you, if I may, he didn’t die on the cross for committing blasphemy, he died on the cross for the title he had: king of the Jews (Jn 19,19). For blasphemy he would have had to be stoned to death, by the Jews. The Jews were forbidden by law to kill someone on the eve or during a feast. So, they handed him to the Romans to dispose of him. But he was committing no blasphemy, he really was on equal terms with God the Father. This was already known, before his death and resurrection, by the apostles, by Mary and Joseph, and by others that have met him. Though they could not grasp his divinity, the same way we cannot grasp it to this very day, and we shall never be able to grasp it, in eternity, they knew he was God. He performed many miracles and signs, but most didn’t believe them, so, he himself said: *An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. *(Mt 12:40)
Jesus’ entire life gives meaning to the Cross and Resurrection. But certain things happened during each of those. Through his death on the Cross he defeated sin, through his Resurrection he defeated death and brought us everlasting life. It’s the undoing of the original sin of Adam. But the actual culmination and fulfillment of redemption comes on the Cross, as stated before:

In Resurrection we have a hope of things still to come. Saint Paul says: but we preach Christ crucified (1Cor 1,23), so Christ is still crucified, until the end of time (Ven. bishop Fulton Sheen said this once). And the same apostle says: For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1Cor 15,22-24)
So, if I dare to say, Redemption is still ongoing, because we all partake in it, until our glorious resurrection from the dead.
This is in no way all that I had to say, but it will suffice for now. :smiley: God bless!

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