Original sin Essay

This essay has a total of 1638 words and 6 pages.

Original sin

Doctrines are used as a foundation to Christian beliefs. They serve to many churches as
fundamentals in the direction their members chose to live their lives. It is important to
understand the historical backgrounds of the doctrines that pertain to one's particular
beliefs. I will be discussing this very information for the doctrine of original sin. The
doctrine of original sin mostly pertains to the Roman Catholic religion. I will be
covering when, where, and why the doctrine was originated. Original sin is the theory that
every man is born into sin because our mother and father have sinned. The definition given
by the Catholic Encyclopedia is: "(1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of
this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or
descent from Adam."# Saint Augustine was the fundamental theologian in the formulation of
this doctrine, which states that the essentially graceless nature of humanity requires
redemption to save it. The purpose of Baptism is to wash away original sin and to restore
the individual to an innocent state, although even after baptism a tendency to sin remains
as a result of original sin.

Although the concept of original sin is derived from the story of Adam and Eve's
disobedience recorded in Genesis, the term "original sin" and the concept of a hereditary
sin passed on to the entire human race are totally absent from the Old Testament and the
gospels. Jesus is not recorded as ever having mentioned original sin, and Genesis relates
only that the sin of the first parents brought consequences upon them. The theology of
original sin developed out of questions that arose in the third century concerning the
custom of infant baptism. "St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) is credited with developing the
traditional doctrine in response to Pelagius, who denied original sin."# Augustine
appealed to Scripture to blame Adam for original sin and to the existing practice of
infant baptism to defend the idea that the sin is passed on to all Adam's descendants, an
idea subsequently endorsed by St. Thomas Aquinas. Original sin was taught by the Council
of Carthage in 418 A.D. and the Second Council of Orange in 529 A.D. "The doctrine was
formally defined by the Council of Trent in its Decree on Original Sin (1546 A.D.)"# The
basis of this doctrine comes from Paul's Letter to the Romans. Ro 5:12 Therefore, just as
sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came
to all men, because all sinned. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC),
"the doctrine of original sin is in some sense the reverse side of the doctrine of
Redemption."#

"In 529, a moderate form of Augustinianism was adopted, involving the theory that every
man as a result of the fall is in such a condition that he can take no steps in the
direction of salvation until he has been renewed by the divine grace given in baptism, and
that he cannot continue in the good thus begun except by the constant assistance of that
grace, which is mediated only by the Catholic Church."#


In the old testament according to the account in Genesis 3, the original humans lived in a
state of intimate fellowship with God, and enjoyed a perfect harmony with one another and
with nature. They were, however, forbidden by God to eat of the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. The serpent persuaded Adam and Eve to disobey this
commandment. "This led to several dire consequences, including the loss of intimate
fellowship with God, man's susceptibility to physical death, a distortion of the
relationship between the man and the woman, a predisposition to sin, and the loss of man's
harmonious relationship with nature."# All these consequences were inherited by Adam and
Eve's descendents.

The experience of original sin, and the spiritual pain it produces in the person who
wishes to please God, is dramatically summed up by Paul in the following verses: "I do not
understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I
that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me,
that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the
good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it
is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that
when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my
inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making
me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will
deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:15-24) The solution to this problem is
stated by Paul in these terms: "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,
could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he
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