Why Does God Not Choose Between The Innocent And The Sinful In Calamities

Why does God not choose between the innocent and the sinful in calamities?

In calamities such as earthquakes or floods, God does not usually choose between the good and the evil or between the innocent and the sinful – when such calamities come, they do not fall exclusively on the wicked and wrongdoers; the meaning of the testing and trial to which men are put in this world requires it to be so. However, in return for such calamities, the good and innocent ones will be rewarded greatly in the Hereafter. It sometimes occurs that God Almighty includes the good and innocent in such calamities because they do not try to prevent the sinful from doing wrong and committing sins.


Why Do Important Action And Personal Sins

Why Do Important Action And Personal Sins

The All Wise Book states in miraculous fashion that the universe grows angry at the evil of the people of misguidance, and the universal elements becomes wrathful, and all beings, furious. In most awesome fashion it depicts the storm visited on the people of Noah and the assaults of the Why Do Important Action And Personal Sinsheavens and earth, the anger of the element air at the denial of the Aad and Thamoud peoples, and the fury of the sea and element water at the people of Pharaoh, and the rage of the element earth at Qarun, and in accordance with the verse, ‘Almost bursting with fury, (67:8)’ the vehemence and anger of Hell at the people of unbelief in the Hereafter, and the rage of the other beings at the unbelievers and people of misguidance; in miraculous fashion it restrains the people of misguidance and rebellion.

Unbelief and misguidance are an awesome aggression and crime that concern all beings. For one of the greatest results of the universe’s creation is man’s worship and his responding to Divine dominicality with belief and submission. However, due to the denial of unbelief, the people of unbelief and misguidance reject that supreme result, which is the ultimate cause of beings and the reason for their continued existence, and therefore perpetrate a sort of transgression against the rights of all beings. So too, since they deny the manifestations of the Divine Names, which are apparent in the mirrors of beings, exalting their value, they insult those sacred Names, and in addition, by degrading the value of all beings, greatly detract them. And while all beings are dominical officials charged with elevated duties, through unbelief, the people of misguidance cast them down, and showing them to be lifeless, transitory, meaningless creatures, they in a way violate the rights of all of them.

Thus, since according to its degree, the varieties of misguidance harm to a greater or lesser extent the dominical wisdom in the universe’s creation and the Divine purposes in the world’s continued existence, the universe becomes angry at the people of rebellion and misguidance, as do all beings and creatures.

O wretched man, whose being is small but guilt great and sin grievous! If you want to be delivered from the wrath of the universe, the rage of beings, and the aversion of creatures, here is the means: it is to enter the sacred bounds of the All-Wise Book and to follow the Practices of the Noble Messenger, who was the herald of the Book. So enter the bounds and follow the Practices!


What About Involuntary Thoughts And Fancies

What about Involuntary Thoughts and Fancies?

Involuntary evil thoughts, fancies, or associations of ideas usually are the result of Satan’s whispering. Just as a battery has two poles, so do our hearts have two central points or poles. Like the two poles of a battery, there are two central points or poles in man’s heart: One receives angelic inspiration, and the other is vulnerable to Satan’s whispering.

Satan attacks those believers who are trying to deepen their belief and devotion. If they are scrupulous and delicate in feeling, he attacks them from different directions. When confronted with unbelievers, who follow him voluntarily by indulging in passing fancies and bodily pleasures, he whispers to them new and original ideas. In this way, he encourages them to increase their unbelief and learn new ways of struggling against true religion and all believers.

Satan’s attacks come from different directions. When God cursed Satan because of his haughty disobedience, Satan asked for respite until the Day of Judgment and permission to try to seduce human beings. God granted his request, and Satan retorted: Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right and from their left, and you will not find most of them grateful (7:17).

Satan does everything he can to seduce us. We are very complex beings, for God manifests all of His Names on us in this world of testing. We are sent here to be trained so that we can serve as a mirror to God and earn eternal happiness. In order to do this, we must train and develop all of our God-given feelings, faculties, and potentials. If some of these are not trained (e.g., intellect, anger, greed, obstinacy, and lust) and directed to lofty goals, but abused and used for disagreeable purposes, we will place our present and future life in danger. This is also true if we do not restrict our natural desires and animal by satisfying them in acceptable ways.

Approaching us from our left, Satan uses our animal aspect’s feelings and faculties to tempt us into sin. When he approaches us from the front, he drives us to despair over our future, whispers that the Day of Judgment will never come, that whatever religions say about the Hereafter is mere fiction, and that religion belongs to the past and so is irrelevant to our present and future. When he comes upon us from behind, he tries to make us deny Prophethood, God’s Existence and Unity, Divine Scriptures, angels, and other essential matters of belief. Through such whispers and suggestions, Satan tries to sever our connections with religion and steer us toward sin.

Satan cannot seduce devout, practicing believers in these ways. Rather, he approaches from the believer’s right and encourages him to display and ostentation, to taking pride in their virtues and good deeds. He whispers that they are such good believers, until the believers’ feelings of self-conceit and desire for praise are aroused. When this point is reached, believers begin to travel the road to perdition. For example, if we pray the superrogatory late night prayer and then proclaim it so that others will praise us, and if we begin to take credit for our accomplishments and good deeds while criticizing others behind their backs, it means that we have fallen under Satan’s influence. We must do our best to resist Satan when he comes upon us from this direction.

Another of Satan’s ruses is to make unimportant things seem important and vice versa. If believers dispute with each other over a secondary matter (e.g., using a rosary when glorifying God after the daily prescribed prayers) while their children are being dragged along ways of unbelief and materialism, or are drowning in the swamp of immorality, this indicates that Satan has seduced them.

Satan’s whispering disagreeable thoughts and fancies. If Satan fails to seduce devout believers, he whispers some disagreeable thoughts and fancies to them. For example, through the association of ideas, he pushes believers toward having some negative conceptions of the Divine Being or of thinking about unbelief or disobedience. If we dwell on such thoughts, Satan pesters us until we fall into doubt about our belief or despair of a virtuous life.

Another ruse is to cause good, devout believers to suspect the correctness or validity of their religious acts. For example: Did I pray perfectly? Did I wash my face and hands completely while making abolition’? Have I washed the specific bodily parts the required number of times? Believers pestered with such involuntary thoughts, fancies, and doubts should know that their hearts have no part in them. Just as thieves attempt to rob rich people and strong countries try to control rich countries, so does Satan make a last-ditch effort to seduce believers by troubling their hearts.

This is similar to a sick person having a high temperature. We know that antibodies formed in a patient’s blood to inhibit or destroy harmful bacteria or germs. This causes the body’s temperature to rise. Similarly, a heart troubled with Satan’s evil suggestions defends itself by fighting against them. Thus, the heart does not generate such thoughts, and neither does it approve of or adopt them. A reflection of something foul is not itself foul and cannot make us foul. In the same way, thinking about unbelief is not the same thing as actual unbelief.

We might even say that Satan’s evil suggestions actually benefit believers, for they cause us to remain alert, to struggle against our carnal selves and Satan, and to progress toward ever-higher spiritual ranks.

M. Fethullah Gulen

The Consequences Of Sin In Christianity


There are three separate aspects of the consequences of sin which will be explained here: 1). The penalty of sin which describes the very real moral debt that every person now carries as a result of sin; 2). the power of sin which describes the enslaving and corrupting power that sinful thoughts, attitudes and actions can produce in the human heart; 3). the pain of sin which describes the misery and heartache that results in the lives of those trapped by the enslaving and corrupting power of sin. The reader can easily see the reality of the second two points in the world today. However the reality of the moral debt of sin is something which can only be fully understood on the basis of the truth of scripture.


When speaking of the penalty of sin three words need to be considered: death, separation, and condemnation. The scriptures records that God warned Adam and Eve that if they were to disobey Him that the result would be death. While the serpent assured Eve that she would not die the resultant consequence was in fact the curse of death. Consider the facts as recorded in scripture,

(Genesis 3:17-19) Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. {18} “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you shall eat the plants of the field; {19} By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

The word which God spoke to Adam and Eve warning of the consequences of sin proved true as the curse of death was pronounced upon Adam along with hardship in the pursuit of his daily needs. Later in this same portion of scripture God drives Adam out of the garden and away from the tree of life. Adam would no longer experience the fellowship with God he once knew as a new sense of separation from God would be experienced.

(Genesis 3:22-24) Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– {23} therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. {24} So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The prophet Isaiah speaking on God’s behalf to the nation of Israel highlights the separation from God that is caused by sin.

(Isaiah 59:1-2) Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Neither is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. {2} But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.

One might ask how the sin of Adam and Eve affects us today. Unfortunately the Bible teaches that Adam stood as a representative of the entire human race. When he sinned the penalty of death and separation from God was placed upon the entire creation. Furthermore the apostle Paul, who brings these truths to light, states that all mankind has come under judgment and condemnation because of the sin of Adam and because of their own sin.

(Romans 5:12;16;18;19) {12} Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…{16}…. for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation…… {18} So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men…{19} For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.

The condemnation and separation from God that sin has caused is very real. The apostle Paul when writing to the Ephesian believers explained to them that before they became Christians they were separated from Christ, without God in their lives and in a hopeless state. This description is as valid today as it was when written by the apostle 2000 years ago:

(Ephesians 2:12) …remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.


The Bible teaches that thoughts, attitudes of heart and actions which are sinful can eventually enslave an individual and destroy that persons life. One need not look to far to see the reality of this matter all around. Many today are enslaved to alcohol and drugs. Others give testimony to being enslaved to lust and pornography and only God knows how many criminal sexual acts are the result of minds and hearts which have been poisoned by the pornographic industry. Others might be “controlled” by anger and hate that drives them to destructive acts of violence. The list goes on and on as the reality of the power of sin is demonstrated daily in the lives of multitudes of people.

(Proverbs 5:21-23) For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths. {22} His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. {23} He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.

(John 8:34-36) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. {35} “And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. {36} “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.


As in the case of Eve who was deceived regarding the consequences of sin, many today deceive themselves believing they will somehow escape the pain and unhappiness that sin will bring. However, the word of God proves true as countless lives have been ruined or scarred in pursuit of things which God in His word has warned man not to embrace. For example, the Bible forbids drunkenness, but many in pursuit of some misguided pleasure or desire to escape life’s responsibilities indulge in excess with alcohol. The resultant pain and misery that has occurred in the lives of the guilty parties and those as well who’s lives in one way or another come in contact with these individuals is beyond question. The truth of the matter is that there was never a person who became enslaved to alcohol who did not in a sober state of mind chose not once but over and over again to overindulge to the point of repeated drunkenness. The examples of the pain and misery that sin brings to life are too numerous to record.

(Isaiah 1:4-6) Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him. {5} Where will you be stricken again, As you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick, And the whole heart is faint. {6} From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts, and raw wounds, Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil.
(Isaiah 57:20-21) But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. {21} “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

(Proverbs 12:21) No harm befalls the righteous, But the wicked are filled with trouble.

The realities of sin would lead to despair if that were the end of the story. Thank God that in His love, mercy and grace He has made provision to enable us to overcome every aspect of sin. Please continue to the next topic to begin to learn about what God has done for us in and through His Son Jesus Christ so that we may find victory over this enemy of man we call sin.


Sins Origin And Nature In The Bible


We have looked at a biblical definition of sin which can be best described as the breaking of God’s laws and commandments along with the rejection of His plans and purposes for our lives. A closer look at the origin and nature of sin will be the focus of this sub-point. As more information comes to light about the origin and nature of sin it will become apparent that these things have great relevance to our lives today as we try and understand the true nature of this life.


The apostle Paul when writing in the book of Romans explained in great detail many aspects of the nature and consequences of sin. The reader is encouraged to read the first eight chapters of the book of Romans to gain a greater understanding of this topic. When speaking of the origin of sin Paul went back to the beginning explaining to us that sin entered into the world through one man – Adam. Many today would question the historical reality of the first two people named Adam and Eve. However, the New Testament does not view these people as symbolic but as very real. Furthermore as the consequences of sin are explained the reality of the people and the choices they made will become apparent. Consider these scriptures which confirm the historical nature of Adam and Eve and which comment on the first sins committed as recorded in the book of Genesis.

(2 Corinthians 11:3) But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

(1 Timothy 2:13-14) For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. {14} And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.

(Genesis 3:6) When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

(Romans 5:12) …..through one man sin entered into the world…..

In these preceding verses we find that Adam and Eve are referred to as real people- Adam being created first then Eve. Eve being deceived by the serpent fell into sin and her husband followed in this as well. Finally in Romans 5:12 Paul states that sin entered the world through this first act of disobedience.


The scriptures are consistent in teaching that man, at this present time, is inherently flawed. This idea like that of sin is not popular with many today. However what needs to be embraced is not what is popular but what is true. The Bible as God’s word is true when it speaks of the condition of man. Consider the following scriptures which speak of the condition of mans heart.

The prophet Jeremiah diagnosed the heart of man in this way:

(Jeremiah 17:9) “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Jesus Christ made this statement:

(Mark 7:20-23) And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. {21} “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, {22} deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. {23} “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

The apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians to have lived, evaluated his own heart condition in these words:

(Romans 7:18-24) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. {19} For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. {20} But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. {21} I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good……..{24} Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

While some might recoil at the thought of admitting to the presence of sin in their heart others might find hope in being able to define and understand a principle at work in their lives which moves them towards that which they know to be wrong. May such an individual find even more hope in the words of the great physician, Jesus, who has provided the way to defeat this enemy within:

(Luke 5:31-32) And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. {32} “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

(John 8:34-36) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin….. {36} “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.


The most important aspect of sin that every person needs to understand and acknowledge is the universal nature of sin. The scriptures are clear and unmistakable on this point. Every person has sinned and stands before God guilty in this regard. Consider the following verses which speak to this issue:

(Romans 3:23) … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

(Romans 3:9-10) …for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; {10} as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

(1 John 1:8-10) If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. {10} If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

These verses are not saying that every person is living a life characterized by consistent patterns of gross sin and rebellion against God but simply that all have sinned in one way or another and as a result that none can stand before God in perfect righteousness. Consider the words of James:

(James 2:10-11) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. {11} For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Is there anyone reading these words who can honestly say they have never broken one of the ten commandments? Or that can say that they have always loved God with all their heart, soul and mind? So then the scripture again proves to be true:

(Romans 3:23) … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God



Sin Definition For Christians


The topic of sin is not a popular one today. Many view the concept of sin as archaic and demeaning — something that needs to be cast aside in light of current ” modern thought”. Christians however know that there are some things taught in God’s word which will never become outdated. Sin is one such topic that is as relevant today as two thousand years ago. In this section we will supply a biblical definition of sin describing and explaining it’s different aspects.


When trying to define sin two or three simple passages in scripture are very helpful in providing the information needed. In the following verse sin is described as lawlessness.

(1 John 3:4) Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

We have mentioned that God has given His commandments and laws to man to govern the way man lives. These laws are for the good of all and are meant to preserve the gift of life which God has given. When man obeys God’s law there is liberty and freedom to enjoy the gift of life with others without fear of future problems.

(Psalms 19:7) The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;

(James 1:25) But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.

So we see that the laws of God are perfect and are given to bless man. When we break God’s law we have committed sin and are acting in a way that will be detrimental to our own good and that of our neighbor.


Another verse found in the book of 1 John gives more helpful information regarding a definition of sin. Here sin is described as unrighteousness.

(1 John 5:17) All unrighteousness is sin

Righteousness is a word used to describe the state of being in conformity with God’s laws and requirements. Consider the description of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth found in the gospel of Luke:

(Luke 1:5-6) In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. {6} And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

These two godly people were described as being righteous in the site of God as they were observing His commandments and requirements. Furthermore in many places in scripture righteousness is contrasted with lawlessness. The obvious inference is that those who are living in consistent patterns of disobedience to God’s laws are considered to be unrighteous and those acts which are contrary to God’s law are considered to be unrighteous acts. Consider these scriptures:

(1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, {10} nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

(2 Corinthians 6:14) Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

It becomes clear then that unrighteousness is the same as lawlessness both of which describe the concept of sin. An informative verse related to these concepts is found in the book of Hebrews. The writer of this book points out the Jesus God’s Son was exalted to a position above all others because he hated lawlessness and loved righteousness. Again the contrast serves to define the nature of unrighteousness as lawlessness.


Perhaps the whole matter can be summed up in the words of James:

(James 4:17) Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.


We have mentioned before that God has given His laws to govern His creation. The point also needs to be made again that these laws govern mans life in the context of the pursuit of God’s plans and purposes. God has created and designed this world with specific plans and purposes which are not to be neglected or rejected. God’s original plan for the human family was to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth. This puts the focus of life on the family. Husbands and wives raising children in loving families where the truth about God is learned from God’s word.

As we will see in the topics to come sin has altered the original plans and purposes of God. In addition to the propagation of the human family God has other plans and purpose to which God calls man. The will of God for our lives now also includes our salvation and sanctification and service for the kingdom of God. However, for right now, the important point to realize and accept is that God has not created the human race so that each one could decide for themselves what they will do with “their” life. God has given very specific instructions regarding the plans and purposes for our lives. God’s word teaches us that when a person rejects the plans and purposes of God for their life in pursuit of their own they are committing sin.

(Isaiah 29:15) Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”

(Isaiah 30:1) “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin;


Sin By Wiki


By Wikipedia

A sin is an act that violates a known moral rule in a religion. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Sin can refer not only to physical actions taken, but also to thoughts and internalized motivations and feelings. Colloquially, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, selfish, shameful, harmful, or alienating might be termed “sinful”.

Common ideas surrounding sin in various religions include:

  • Punishment for sins, from other people, from God either in life or in afterlife, or from the Universe in general.
  • The question of whether an act must be intentional to be sinful.
  • The idea that one’s conscience should produce guilt for a conscious act of sin.
  • A scheme for determining the seriousness of the sin and the importance of responsibility.
  • Repentance from (expressing regret for and determining not to commit) sin, and atonement (repayment) for past deeds.
  • The possibility of forgiveness of sins, often through communication with a deity or intermediary; in Christianity often referred to as salvation. Crime and justice are related secular concepts.

Shinto Concept Of Sin

Shinto Concept of Sin (Tsumi) and Impurity (Kegare)

In Shinto, there is no concept of original sin or karma. But ancient Japanese considered all unhappy or unfortunate incidents, such as diseases or natural hazards, as sins. Yet, they were not the cause in the individual, but in external factors. And they considered sin to something adhere to people externally. So, people might be purified at shrines according to rituals known as oharai. The mechanism is expressed in the saying. “Hate the sin, but not the sinner.”

In Japanese mythology, there is an episode featuring the male kami, Izanagi. When his spouse, Izanami, died, he missed her so much that he went down to the other world of the dead. As a result, he himself became impure. Understanding this, he purified himself on returning to this world using water in order to revitalize himself. Izanagi thus became pure, and remarkably felicitous happenings occurred as result of this act of purification, namely the birth of three major deities of Japan, Amaterasu-ômikami (Sun kami), Tsukuyomino-Mikoto (Moon kami) and Susano-no-Mikoto.

This episode implies that the act of purification is the source of energy and productivity, and is essential not only for the salvation of the individual but of the nation. This is the reason for the Shinto emphasis on purification.

Seven Deadly Sins In Chatolic Church

Seven deadly Sins in Catholic Church



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Boschsevendeadlysins.jpg/300px-Boschsevendeadlysins.jpgThe Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices (part of Christian ethics) that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the sins are usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: venial sins, in which guilt is relatively minor, and the more severe mortal sins. Theologically, a mortal sin is believed to destroy the life of grace within the person and thus creates the threat of eternal damnation. “Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished [for Catholics] within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation.

The Deadly Sins do not belong to an additional category of sin. Rather, they are the sins that are seen as the origin (“capital” comes from the Latin caput, head) of the other sins. A “deadly sin” can be either venial or mortal, depending on the situation; but “they are called ‘capital’ because they engender other sins, other vices.”

Beginning in the early 14th century, the popularity of the seven deadly sins as a theme among European artists of the time eventually helped to ingrain them in many areas of Catholic culture and Catholic consciousness in general throughout the world. One means of such ingraining was the creation of the mnemonic “SALIGIA” based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira, acedia.

Biblical lists

In the Book of Proverbs (Mishlai), King Solomon stated that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth.” namely:

  1. A proud look.
  2. A lying tongue.
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood.
  4. A heart that devises wicked plots.
  5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief.
  6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies.
  7. Him that soweth discord among brethren.

While there are seven of them, this list is considerably different from the traditional one, with only pride clearly being in both lists.

Another list, given this time by the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 5:19-21), includes more of the traditional seven sins, although the list is substantially longer: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, “and such like”. Since Saint Paul goes on to say that the persons who commit these sins “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”, they are usually listed as (possible) mortal sins rather than Capital Vices.

Development of the traditional Seven Sins

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/25/Tableau_de_mission_-Fran%C3%A7ois-Marie_Balanant_tableau_1-.jpg/220px-Tableau_de_mission_-Fran%C3%A7ois-Marie_Balanant_tableau_1-.jpgAn allegorical image depicting the human heart subject to the seven deadly sins, each represented by an animal (clockwise: toad = avarice; snake = envy; lion = wrath; snail = sloth; pig = gluttony; goat = lust; peacock = pride).








The modern concept of the Seven Deadly Sins is linked to the works of the 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who listed eight evil thoughts in Greek as follows:

  • Γαστριμαργία (gastrimargia) gluttony.
  • Πορνεία (porneia) prostitution, fornication.
  • Φιλαργυρία (philargyria) avarice.
  • Ὑπερηφανία (hyperēphania) hubris – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as self-esteem.
  • Λύπη (lypē) sadness – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as envy, sadness at another’s good fortune.
  • Ὀργή (orgē) wrath.
  • Κενοδοξία (kenodoxia) boasting.
  • Ἀκηδία (akēdia) acedia – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as dejection.

They were translated into the Latin of Western Christianity (largely due to the writings of John Cassian) thus becoming part of the Western tradition’s spiritual pietas (or Catholic devotions), as follows:

These “evil thoughts” can be collected into three groups:

  • lustful appetite (Gluttony, Fornication, and Avarice)
  • irascibility (Wrath)
  • intellect (Vainglory, Sorrow, Pride, and Discouragement)

In AD 590, a little over two centuries after Evagrius wrote his list, Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more common Seven Deadly Sins, by folding sorrow/despair into acedia, vainglory into pride, and adding envy.[8] In the order used by both Pope Gregory and by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows:

  1. luxuria (lechery/lust)
  2.  gula (gluttony)
  3. avaritia (avarice/greed)
  4. acedia (acedia/discouragement/sloth)
  5. ira (wrath)
  6. invidia (envy)
  7. superbia (pride)

The identification and definition of the seven deadly sins over their history has been a fluid process and the idea of what each of the seven actually encompasses has evolved over time. Additionally, as a result of semantic change:

  • Lust was substituted for luxuria in all but name
  • socordia (sloth) was substituted for acedia

It is this revised list that Dante uses. The process of semantic change has been aided by the fact that the personality traits are not collectively referred to, in either a cohesive or codified manner, by the Bible itself; other literary and ecclesiastical works were instead consulted, as sources from which definitions might be drawn. Part II of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, has almost certainly been the best known source since the Renaissance.

The modern Roman Catholic Catechism lists the sins in Latin as “superbia, avaritia, invidia, ira, luxuria, gula, pigritia seu acedia”, with an English translation of “pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth/acedia”. Each of the seven deadly sins now also has an opposite among corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are humility, charity, kindness, patience, chastity, temperance, and diligence.

Historical and modern definitions of the deadly sins


Lust or lechery (carnal “luxuria”) is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. In Dante’s Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings. In Dante’s Inferno, unforgiven souls of the sin of lust are blown about in restless hurricane-like winds symbolic of their own lack of self control to their lustful passions in earthly life.


Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. In the Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food or its withholding from the needy.

Depending on the culture, it can be seen as either a vice or a sign of status. Where food is relatively scarce, being able to eat well might be something to take pride in. But in an area where food is routinely plentiful, it may be considered a sign of self-control to resist the temptation to over-indulge.

Medieval church leaders (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods. Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:

  • Praepropere – eating too soon.
  • Laute – eating too expensively.
  • Nimis – eating too much.
  • Ardenter – eating too eagerly (burningly).
  • Studiose – eating too daintily (keenly).
  • Forente – eating wildly (boringly).


Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was “a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.” In Dante’s Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. “Avarice” is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery . Scavengingand hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one attempts to purchase or sell sacraments, including Holy Orders and, therefore, positions of authority in the Church hierarchy.

As defined outside of Christian writings, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.


Over time, the “acedia” in Pope Gregory’s order has come to be closer in meaning to sloth (Latin, Socordia). The focus came to be on the consequences of acedia rather than the cause, and so, by the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts. Even in Dante’s time there were signs of this change; in his Purgatorio he had portrayed the penance for acedia as running continuously at top speed.

The modern view goes further, regarding laziness and indifference as the sin at the heart of the matter. Since this contrasts with a more willful failure to, for example, love God and his works, sloth is often seen as being considerably less serious than the other sins, more a sin of omission than of commission.


Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ακηδία) is the neglect to take care of something that one should do. It is translated to apathetic listlessness; depression without joy. It is similar to melancholy, although acedia describes the behaviour, while melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a willful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, apathy was considered a refusal to help others in time of need.

When Thomas Aquinas described acedia in his interpretation of the list, he described it as an uneasiness of the mind, being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing acedia as the failure to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind and all one’s soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterized by an absence or insufficiency of love. Some scholarshave said that the ultimate form of acedia was despair which leads to suicide.


Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as “rage“, may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience, revenge, and vigilantism.

Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest, although one can of course be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy, (closely related to the sin of envy). Dante described vengeance as “love of justice perverted to revenge and spite“. In its original form, the sin of anger also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of hatred directed inwardly, a final rejection of God’s gifts.


Like greed, Envy (Latin, invidia) may be characterized by an insatiable desire; they differ, however, for two main reasons:

  • First, greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy may apply more generally.
  • Second, those who commit the sin of envy not only resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, but also wish the other person to be deprived of it.

Dante defined this as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs.” Envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically “Neither shall you desire… anything that belongs to your neighbour”. In Dante’s Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they have gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low. Aquinas described envy as “sorrow for another’s good”.


In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). Dante’s definition was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour.” In Jacob Bidermann’s medieval miracle play, Cenodoxus, pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the penitents were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs to induce feelings of humility.


Vainglory (Latin, vanagloria) is unjustified boasting. Pope Gregory viewed it as a form of pride, so he folded vainglory into pride for his listing of sins.

The Latin term gloria roughly means boasting, although its English cognate – glory – has come to have an exclusively positive meaning; historically, vain roughly meant futile, but by the 14th century had come to have the strong narcissistic undertones, of irrelevant accuracy, that it retains today. As a result of these semantic changes, vainglory has become a rarely used word in itself, and is now commonly interpreted as referring to vanity (in its modern narcissistic sense).

This contrasts slightly with an earlier series of pairings found in the fifteenth century English Lollard tract Lanterne of Light, which differs in pairing Beelzebub with Envy, Abadon with Sloth, Belphegor with Gluttony and matching Lucifer with Pride, Satan/Amon with Wrath, Asmodeus with Lust and Mammon with Avarice.


This article has been adapted from Wikipedia.

Original Sin From Wiki

Original Sin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Original sinis, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity’s state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred to as a “sin nature”, to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt of all humans through collective guilt.

The doctrine is not found in Judaism,  its scriptural foundation is in the New Testament teaching of Paul the Apostle. (Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22) It began to be developed by the 2nd-century Bishop of LyonIrenaeus in his controversy with the dualist Gnostics.

In the theology of the Catholic Church, original sin is regarded as the general condition of sinfulness, that is (the absence of holiness and perfect charity) into which humans are born, distinct from the actual sins that a person commits. This teaching explicitly states that “original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants”.In other words, human beings do not bear any “original guilt” from Adam’s particular sin, which is his alone. The prevailing view, also held in Eastern Orthodoxy, is that human beings bear no guilt for the sin of Adam.

Orthodoxy prefers using the term “ancestral sin”, which indicates that “original sin is hereditary. It did not remain only Adam and Eve’s. As life passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original sin “In this quotation, “original sin” is used not of the personal sin of Adam, which is his alone and is not transmitted, but in reference to the “distortion of the nature of man”, which is inherited.

An important exposition of the belief of Eastern Christians identifies original sin as physical and spiritual death, the spiritual death being the loss of “the grace of God, which quickened (the soul) with the higher and spiritual life. Others see original sin also as the cause of actual sins although, in this view, original and actual sin may be difficult to distinguish.

mhtml:file://H:\04032012\Slife%20Studies%20%2004032012\Original%20sin%20-%20Wikipedia,%20the%20free%20encyclopedia.mht!http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/Sandro_Botticelli_050.jpg/150px-Sandro_Botticelli_050.jpgHistory of the Doctrine

The Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists mostly dealt with topics other than original sin. The doctrine of original sin was first developed in 2nd-century Bishop of Lyon Irenaeus‘s struggle against Gnosticism. Irenaeus contrasted their doctrine with the view that the Fall was a step in the wrong direction by Adam, with whom, Irenaeus believed, his descendants had some solidarity or identity. Irenaeus believed that Adam’s sin had grave consequences for humanity, that it is the source of human sinfulness, mortality and enslavement to sin, and that all human beings participate in his sin and share his guilt.

The Greek Fathers emphasized the cosmic dimension of the Fall, namely that since Adam human beings are born into a fallen world, but held fast to belief that man, though fallen, is free. They thus did not teach that human beings are deprived of free will and involved in total depravity, which is one understanding of original sin. During this period the doctrines of human depravity and the inherently sinful nature human flesh were taught by Gnostics, and orthodox Christian writers took great pains to counter them. Christian Apologists insisted that God’s future judgment of humanity implied humanity must have the ability to live righteously.

It was in the West that precise definition of the doctrine arose. Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose and Ambrosiaster considered that mankind shares in Adam’s sin, transmitted by human generation. Augustine of Hippo taught that Adam’s sin is transmitted by concupiscence, resulting in mankind becoming a massa damnata (mass of perdition, condemned crowd), with much enfeebled, though not destroyed, freedom of will. When Adam sinned, human nature was thenceforth transformed. Adam and Eve, via sexual reproduction, recreated human nature. Their descendants now live in sin, in the form of concupiscence, a term Augustine used in a metaphysical, not a psychological sense. Augustine insisted that concupiscence was not a being but a bad quality, the privation of good or a wound. He admitted that sexual concupiscence (libido) might have been present in the perfect human nature in paradise, and that only later it became disobedient to human will as a result of the first couple’s disobedience to God’s will in the original sin. In Augustine’s view (termed “Realism”), all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.

Opposition to Augustine’s ideas about original sin arose rapidly, voiced particularly by the Pelagians. After a long and bitter struggle the general principles of Augustine’s teaching were confirmed within Western Christianity by many councils, especially the Second Council of Orange in 529. Some of the followers of Augustine identified original sin with concupiscence in the psychological sense, but this identification was challenged by the 11th-century Saint Anselm of Canterbury, who defined original sin as “privation of the righteousness that every man ought to possess”, thus separating it from concupiscence. In the 12th century the identification of original sin with concupiscence was supported by Peter Lombard and others, but was rejected by the leading theologians in the next century, chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas. He distinguished the supernatural gifts of Adam before the Fall from what was merely natural, and said that it was the former that were lost, privileges that enabled man to keep his inferior powers in submission to reason and directed to his supernatural end. Even after the fall, man thus kept his natural abilities of reason, will and passions. Rigorous Augustine-inspired views persisted among the Franciscans, though the most prominent Franciscan theologians, such as Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, eliminated the element of concupiscence.

ReformersMartin Luther and John Calvin equated original sin with concupiscence, affirming that it persisted even after baptism and completely destroyed freedom.

The Council of Trent, while not pronouncing on points disputed among Catholic theologians, condemned the teaching that in baptism the whole of what belongs to the essence of sin is not taken away, but is only cancelled or not imputed, and declared the concupiscence that remains after baptism not truly and properly “sin” in the baptized, but only to be called sin in the sense that it is of sin and inclines to sin.

In 1567, soon after the close of the Council of Trent, Pope Pius V went beyond Trent by sanctioning Aquinas’s distinction between nature and supernature in Adam’s state before the Fall, condemned the identification of original sin with concupiscence, and approved the view that the unbaptized could have right use of will.

From about the 18th century, belief about original sin has tended to become softened, but has persisted in some form as in Immanuel Kant‘s idea of “radical evil”.

Unbaptized infants

mhtml:file://H:\04032012\Slife%20Studies%20%2004032012\Original%20sin%20-%20Wikipedia,%20the%20free%20encyclopedia.mht!http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/B_Escorial_18.jpg/150px-B_Escorial_18.jpgAugustine believed that the only definitive destinations of souls are heaven and hell. He concluded that unbaptized infants go to hell as a consequence of original sin. The Latin Church Fathers who followed Augustine adopted his position, which became a point of reference for Latin theologians in the Middle Ages. In the later mediaeval period, some theologians continued to hold Augustine’s view, others held that unbaptized infants suffered no pain at all: unaware of being deprived of the beatific vision, they enjoyed a state of natural, not supernatural happiness. Starting around 1300, unbaptized infants were often said to inhabit the “limbo of infants“.The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1261 declares: “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.” But the theory of Limbo, while it “never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium … remains … a possible theological hypothesis”.

Augustine’s formulation of original sin was popular among Protestant reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, and also, within Roman Catholicism, in the Jansenist movement, but this movement was declared heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.

Like other traditional church doctrines, original sin has been denied or reinterpreted by various modern Christian denominations (such as the Unity Church) and theologians (such as Matthew Fox). Under such different views, Augustine’s example of newborn babies would suffer the temptation to sin from their nature, but would not bear any guilt because of not actually committing sins of their own.

Christian doctrine

There are wide-ranging disagreements among Christian groups as to the exact understanding of the doctrine about a state of sinfulness or absence of holiness affecting all humans, even children, with some Christian groups denying it altogether.

New Testament

The scriptural basis for the doctrine is found in two New Testament books by Paul the Apostle, Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22, in which he identifies Adam as the one man through whom death came into the world.


By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humans. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that in “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 … original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” — a state and not an act” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 404). This “state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice … transmitted to the descendants of Adam along with human nature” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 76) involves no personal responsibility or personal guilt on their part (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 405). Personal responsibility and guilt were Adam’s, who because of his sin, was unable to pass on to his descendants a human nature with the holiness with which it would otherwise have been endowed, in this way implicating them in his sin. The doctrine of original sin thus does not impute the sin of the father to his children, but merely states that they inherit from him a “human nature deprived of original holiness and justice”, which is “transmitted by propagation to all mankind” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 404).

Though Adam’s sinful act is not the responsibility of his descendants, the state of human nature that has resulted from that sinful act has consequences that plague them: “Human nature, without being entirely corrupted, has been harmed in its natural powers, is subject to ignorance, suffering and the power of death, and has a tendency to sin. This tendency is called concupiscence” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 77), but is distinct from original sin itself, since it remains even when original sin is remitted. In Catholic theology, the meaning attached to the word “concupiscence” is the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the ‘flesh’ against the ‘spirit’ Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man’s moral faculties and, without being in itself an offence, inclines man to commit sins” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2515).

The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is that Mary was conceived free from original sin: “the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” The doctrine sees her as an exception to the general rule that human beings are not immune from the reality of original sin.

The Church has always held baptism to be “for the remission of sins”, and, as mentioned in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 403, infants too have traditionally been baptized, though not guilty of any actual personal sin. The sin that through baptism was remitted for them could only be original sin, with which they were connected by the very fact of being a human.

The first comprehensive theological explanation of this practice of baptizing infants, guilty of no actual personal sin, was given by Saint Augustine of Hippo, not all of whose ideas on original sin have been adopted by the Catholic Church. Indeed the Church has condemned the interpretation of some of his ideas by certain leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Augustine articulated his explanation in reaction to Pelagianism, which insisted that humans have of themselves, without the necessary help of God’s grace, the ability to lead a morally good life, and thus denied both the importance of baptism and the teaching that God is the giver of all that is good. Pelagius claimed that the influence of Adam on other humans was merely that of bad example. Augustine held that the effects of Adam’s sin are transmitted to his descendants not by example but by the very fact of generation from that ancestor. A wounded nature comes to the soul and body of the new person from his/her parents, who experience libido (or concupiscence). Augustine’s view was that human procreation was the way the transmission was being effected. He did not blame, however, the sexual passion itself, but the spiritual concupiscence present in human nature, soul and body, even after baptismal regeneration. Christian parents transmit their wounded nature to children, because they give them birth, not the “re-birth”. Augustine used Ciceronian Stoic concept of passions, to interpret St. Paul’s doctrine of universal sin and redemption. In that view, also sexual desire itself as well as other bodily passions were consequence of the original sin, in which pure affections were wounded by vice and became disobedient to human reason and will. As long as they carry a threat to the dominion of reason over the soul they constitute moral evil, but since they do not presuppose consent, one cannot call them sins. Mankind will be liberated from passions, and pure affections will be restored only when all sin has been washed away and ended, that is in the resurrection of the dead.

Eastern Christianity

Eastern Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy which together make up Eastern Christianity, acknowledge that the introduction of ancestral sin into the human race affected the subsequent environment for mankind (see also traducianism), but never accepted Augustine of Hippo’s notions of original sin and hereditary guilt. The act of Adam is not the responsibility of all humanity, but the consequences of that act changed the reality of this present age of the cosmos. The Greek Fathers emphasized the metaphysical dimension of the Fall of Man, whereby Adam’s descendants are born into a fallen world, but at the same time held fast to belief that, in spite of that, man remains free. Instead of accepting the Lutheran interpretation of Augustine‘s teaching, Orthodox Churches accept the teaching of John Cassian, which, like the that of the Latin Church and the Council of Trent, rejects the doctrine of Total Depravity, by teaching that human nature is “fallen”, that is, depraved, but not totally.

For the Eastern Orthodox the act of Adam is not the responsibility of all humanity, but the consequences of that act changed the reality of this present age of the cosmos. The Greek Fathers emphasized the metaphysical dimension of the Fall of Man, whereby Adam’s descendants are born into a fallen world, but at the same time held fast to belief that, in spite of that, man remains with free will. The Catholic Church teaches: “By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free.” Orthodox Churches accept the teaching of John Cassian, who, according to Orthodox theologian Augustine Casiday, “baldly asserts that God’s grace, not human free will, is responsible for ‘everything which pertains to salvation’ – even faith.”

Cassian endeavoredin his thirteenth[not in citation given] chapter of Conferences section eleven[not in citation given] to demonstrate from Biblical examples that God frequentlyawaits the good impulses of the natural will, before coming to its assistance with His supernatural grace. While the grace often preceded the will, as in the case of Matthew and Peter, he said, on the other hand the will frequentlypreceded the grace, as in the case of Zacchæus and the Good Thief on the Cross. Cassian points out that people still have moral freedom and one has the option to choose to follow God. Colm Luibhéid says that, according to Cassian, there are cases where the soul makes the first little turn, while Augustine Casiday says that, in Cassian’s view, any sparks of goodwill that may exist, not directly caused by God, are totally inadequate and only direct divine intervention ensures spiritual progress. And Lauren Pristas says that “for Cassian, salvation is, from beginning to end, the effect of God’s grace.”

In his Conference XIII, Cassian, who is not here speaking in his own name, recounts how the wise monk Chaeremon, of whom he is writing responded to puzzlement caused by his own statement that “man even though he strive with all his might for a good result, yet cannot become master of what is good unless he has acquired it simply by the gift of Divine bounty and not by the efforts of his own toil” (chapter 1).

In chapter 11, Cassian presents Chaeremon as speaking of the cases of Paul the persecutor and Matthew the publican as difficulties for those who say “the beginning of free will is in our own power”, and the cases of Zaccheus and the good thief on the cross as difficulties for those who say “the beginning of our free will is always due to the inspiration of the grace of God”, and as concluding: “These two then; viz., the grace of God and free will seem opposed to each other, but really are in harmony, and we gather from the system of goodness that we ought to have both alike, lest if we withdraw one of them from man, we may seem to have broken the rule of the Church’s faith: for when God sees us inclined to will what is good, He meets, guides, and strengthens us: for ‘At the voice of thy cry, as soon as He shall hear, He will answer thee’; and: ‘Call upon Me’, He says, ‘in the day of tribulation and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me’. And again, if He finds that we are unwilling or have grown cold, He stirs our hearts with salutary exhortations, by which a good will is either renewed or formed in us.”

Mainstream Protestantism

An interpretation of Augustine of Hippo‘s notion of original sin was strongly affirmed by the Protestant Reformer John Calvin. Calvin believed that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. This inherently sinful nature (the basis for the Calvinistic doctrine of “total depravity“) results in a complete alienation from God and the total inability of humans to achieve reconciliation with God based on their own abilities. Not only do individuals inherit a sinful nature due to Adam’s fall, but since he was the federal head and representative of the human race, all whom he represented inherit the guilt of his sin by imputation. Redemption by Jesus Christ is the only remedy.

John Calvin defined original sin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion as follows:

Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). And that is properly what Paul often calls sin. The works that come forth from it–such as adulteries, fornications, thefts, hatreds, murders, carousings–he accordingly calls “fruits of sin” (Gal 5:19-21), although they are also commonly called “sins” in Scripture, and even by Paul himself.

The Methodist Church, founded by John Wesley, upholds Article VII in the Articles of Religion in the Book of Discipline of the Methodist Church:

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.

Here is a direct comment on original sin by Wesley. ““The Scripture does not, that I remember, anywhere say, in express words, that the sin of Adam is imputed to his children; or, that the sins of believers are imputed to Christ; or, that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers: but the true meaning of these expressions is sufficiently found in several places of Scripture.” “Yet since these express words and phrases, of the imputation of Adam’s sin to us, of our sins to Christ, and of Christ’s righteousness to us, are not plainly written in Scripture we should not impose it on every Christian, to use these very expressions. Let everyone take his liberty, either of confining himself to strictly Scriptural language, or manifesting his sense of these plain Scriptural doctrines, in words and phrases of his own.”

One thing we should all agree on is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are in need of a Savior. I personally feel that the only Scriptural definition of sin is; sin is the willful transgression of a known commandment of God.”

Wesley also stated that strictly speaking, nothing is sin but a willful transgression of a known commandment of God.


Before Calvin developed a systematic theology of Augustinian Protestantism, Martin Luther asserted that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. The second article in Lutheranism‘s Augsburg Confession presents its doctrine of original sin in summary form:

It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Rejected in this connection are the Pelagians and others who deny that original sin is sin, for they hold that natural man is made righteous by his own powers, thus disparaging the sufferings and merit of Christ.

Luther, however, also agreed with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (that Mary was conceived free from original sin) by saying:

[Mary] is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her.


The original formularies of the Church of England also continue in the Reformation understanding of Original Sin. In the Thirty-Nine Articles, Article IX “Of Original or Birth-sin” states:

Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in the Greek, Φρονεμα σαρκος, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

However, more recent doctrinal statements (e.g. the 1938 report Doctrine in the Church of England) permit a greater variety of understandings of this doctrine. The 1938 report summarizes:

Man is by nature capable of communion with God, and only through such communion can he become what he was created to be. “Original sin” stands for the fact that from a time apparently prior to any responsible act of choice man is lacking in this communion, and if left to his own resources and to the influence of his natural environment cannot attain to his destiny as a child of God.

The New Church (Emanuel Swedenborg)

The New Church interprets the first 11 chapters of Genesis in a symbolic manner, and does not view Adam as an individual person but instead sees Adam as a symbolic representation of the “Most Ancient Church”, which had a more direct contact with heaven than all the successive churches that succeeded it. So although there is no “Original Sin” derived from an individual man named Adam, there is hereditary evil derived from parents. Swedenborg stated: “But as to hereditary evil, the case is this. Everyone who commits actual sin thereby induces on himself a nature, and the evil from it is implanted in his children, and becomes hereditary. It thus descends from every parent, from the father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and their ancestors in succession, and is thus multiplied and augmented in each descending posterity, remaining with each person, and being increased in each by his actual sins, and never being dissipated so as to become harmless except in those who are being regenerated by the Lord. Every attentive observer may see evidence of this truth in the fact that the evil inclinations of parents remain visibly in their children, so that one family, and even an entire race, may be thereby distinguished from every other.”

Hereditary evil cannot be completely abolished, but it can tempered when someone reforms his own life. “There are evils in man which must be dispersed while he is being regenerated, that is, which must be loosened and attempered by goods; for no actual and hereditary evil in man can be so dispersed as to be abolished. It still remains implanted; and can only be so far loosened and attempered by goods from the Lord that it does not injure, and does not appear, which is an arcanum hitherto unknown. Actual evils are those which are loosened and attempered, and not hereditary evils; which also is a thing unknown.” “It is to be observed that in the other life no one undergoes any punishment and torture on account of his hereditary evil, but only on account of the actual evils which he himself has committed.”

Seventh-day Adventism

Seventh-day Adventists have not held to or been comfortable with the Augustinian/Calvinistic understanding of original sin, taught in terms of original guilt, but hold more to what could be termed the “total depravity” tradition. According to Augustine and Calvin, mankind inherits not only Adam’s depraved nature but also the actual guilt of his transgression, and Adventist look more toward the Wesleyan model.

Early Adventists Pioneers (such as George Storrs and Uriah Smith) tended to de-emphasise the morally corrupt nature inherited from Adam, while stressing the importance of actual, personal sins committed by the individual. They thought of the “sinful nature” in terms of physical mortality rather than moral depravity. Traditionally, Adventists look at sin in terms of willful transgressions, and that Christ triumphed over sin. Adventism believe that Christ is both our Substitute and our Example. They base their belief on texts such as “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)

The authoritative Adventist position is outlined by reference to publicly available theological positions available on the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s official website on theological doctrine, the Biblical Research Institute. One such article commenting on original sin can be found here.

Clarifications and rejection of the doctrine of original sin

Eastern Orthodoxy

The Orthodox Church in America makes clear the distinction between “fallen nature” and “fallen man” and this is affirmed in the early teaching of the Church whose role it is to act as the catalyst that leads to true or inner redemption. Every human person born on this earth bears the image of God undistorted within themselves. Furthermore, they explicitly deny that we inherit guilt from anyone, maintaining that instead we inherit our fallen nature. In this they differ from the Augustinian position common in the West (i.e. Calvinism/Protestantism), though rejected by Catholicism, that each person is actually inherits Adam’s guilt. “The West… understands that humanity is… ‘guilty’ of the sin of Adam and Eve…. In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.” What is here attributed to “the West” may hold for some strands of Protestantism, but is expressly excluded in the teaching of the Catholic Church, which holds that “original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants … but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man”.

Restoration Movement (Stone-Campbell)

Most Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement Churches, such as the Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and the Disciples of Christ, reject the notion of original sin, believing only in the sins for which men and women are personally responsible. Such churches do not object to the idea that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world by introducing disobedience. Disobedience influenced further generations in much the same way other ideas spread, thus making sin likely in any individual above “The Age of Accountability.”

In the Old Testament, in the Book of Ezekiel, God’s people are rebuked for suggesting that the children would die/suffer for their father’s sins:

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge‘? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

—Ezek. 18:1-4, TNIV

The Lord then gives examples of a good father with a bad son, of a good son with a bad father, etc. and states:

“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?‘ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

—Ezek. 18:19-20, TNIV

God concludes: “house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to your own ways … Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:30-31, TNIV).

Some Restoration movement churches and individuals believe that Adam’s sin made us depraved (that is, with a tendency towards sin) without making us guilty of Adam’s sin. Some also believe that man is predisposed towards sin, but though every person sins, they are not guilty on account of any sin nature. Most, however, simply believe that Adam and Eve sinned as a result of their making a wrong free-will choice when they were tempted by the serpent and as a result brought “the knowledge of good and evil” upon themselves and all people after them, and that although man still retains his free-will it is this “knowledge of good and evil” that makes it difficult for him to live without committing sin. In keeping with the point contained in the passage of Ezekiel cited above, the sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden belongs to them alone.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons, or LDS more specifically) do not believe in the concept of original sin as it is generally used in Christianity. The early blessing of God to Adam and Eve to “multiply and replenish” (Gen 1:28) is connected to the later command of God to Adam and Eve to not partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). Therefore these two aspects of the creation account are taught as to be obligatory yet apparently contradictory commands of God. The disobedience of Eve and Adam, therefore, becomes not quite the cause for humanity’s perpetual ancestral or original sin condition (were it not for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ), per se, but a “fall forward.” The Fall was a separation from living communion with God, yet was a necessary transgression intended by God so that humankind may come to be and experience joy:

22. And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. 23. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. 24. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. 25. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:22-25)

10. And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. 11. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:10-11)

Furthermore, Latter-day Saints believe that everyone will be punished for their own individual sins and not for any transgression of Adam or Eve. Neither do Mormons believe that children come into the world with any guilt because Jesus Christ atoned for any “original guilt,” and the sins of parents cannot be answered upon the heads of their children. Moses 6:53-54 in the Pearl of Great Price reads:

53. And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. 54. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.

Mormons also hold that little children are incapable of committing sin and, as such, have no need of baptism until age eight when they can begin to learn to discern right from wrong and are thus capable of sin and can be held accountable. Moroni 8:8-9 in the Book of Mormon reads:

8. Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me. 9. And after this manner did the Holy Ghost Manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

Little children who die before reaching the age of accountability (even though they are unbaptized) are automatic heirs of salvation and are saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Furthermore those who die “without the law” are under no condemnation nor accountability:

22. For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing— 23. But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works. 24. Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law. (Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:22-24)

It is interpreted that those who are incapable of understanding right from wrong, such as mentally handicapped persons, are also saved under the atonement of Jesus Christ without baptism. Any adults who die without a knowledge of God’s commands (Law) do need baptism, which they can receive in the spiritual realm by accepting the Latter-day Saint vicarious practice of Baptism for the Dead.

Relation to hypothetical extraterrestrials

In an interview entitled “Aliens Are My Brother”, granted to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Father José Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, stated: “In my opinion this possibility (of life on other planets) exists”; “intelligent beings, created by God may exist in outer space” and “some aliens could even be free from original sin” concluding “there could be (other beings) who remained in full friendship with their creator”.And on 5 March 2009, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, another astronomer working at the Vatican Observatory, told the BBC, in relation to the search for Earth-like worlds about to be embarked upon by the Kepler Space telescope, that “we Jesuits are actively involved in the search for Earth-like planets. The idea that there could be other intelligent creatures made by God in a relationship with God is not contrary to traditional Judeo-Christian thought. The Bible has many references to, or descriptions of, non-human intelligent beings; after all, that’s what angels are. Our cousins on other planets may even have their own salvation story – including other examples of the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity. We are open to whatever the Universe has for us.”

With regard to the attribution to “the Vatican” of similar statements by individuals working for the Holy See, official spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, also a Jesuit, published on 21 February 2009 a declaration that they must not be mistaken for statements of the Holy See— they are only statements of this individual Jesuit priest.