Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

From what I understand so far, is that Adam's sin of eating from the tree is past down and everyone born has this sin on their record.

This Sin is only washed away if one is Baptized, so if a child born dies at say 6 months will go to Hell because they have this Sin.

Women suffer labor pains because of this Sin, and men are put in charge over them. Men will toil on earth because of this Sin until the end of time.

God is also just and this sin has to be paid for.

The Old Testament makes no reference to this sin, in fact it teaches that you will not bear the burden of anyone else. How is this fact reconciled? Was this original Sin only for Christians and not for the previous generations?

Do Catholics believe that God is not able to forgive Sin?

share|improve this question
    
Is this really scoped towards Catholics? –  Affable Geek Feb 12 at 20:04
    
@AffableGeek Yes, does it not apply to Catholics? I usually choose Catholics b/c they are the largest of the sects. –  user1361315 Feb 12 at 20:16
    
So, yes and no. Roman Catholics are the single largest denomination, but the total number of Protestants generally is larger in the United States. Also, when it comes to original sin, or God's nature, there is very little difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics (or even the Orthodox for that matter.) I would suggest using the term 'mainstream Christianity' or 'Nicene Christianity' if you are looking for a general answer about "Christian" theology –  Affable Geek Feb 13 at 0:05
    
Also, this question isn't about catholicism, it's about original sin and the nature of God, so I'm going to retag –  Affable Geek Feb 13 at 0:05
    
This short history of Mainstream Christianity may prove useful to you. –  Affable Geek Feb 13 at 0:19

4 Answers 4

You've got a couple of questions in your question, so I'm going to try and flesh out original sin.

Original sin is not that God punishes you because of the sins of your parents or anyone else. Ezekiel makes that clear for us:

18:20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Original sin is that you are inherently sinful. Exodus 25 is often used to show inherited sin, however I think that is a misreading:

You shall not bow down to [idols] or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”

The third and fourth generation are being punished because they still hate God. The parents sin was passed on to the children because children usually mimic what their parents do. If their parents don't worship God, then the kids will (more often than not) also not worship God.

The idea of Original Sin is based on places like Romans 5. It is the concept that because we are human, we are sinful. In Romans 5 we see original sin, that just as one man sinned, we all sin and so we all deserve death.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (5:12)

The Old Testament does mention original sin at least once. It's a great reminder that like our parents are sinful, we too are sinful at birth. From the moment you are born, you are sinful and rightly deserve God's punishment:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5 ESV)

In terms of this comment in your question:

This Sin is only washed away if one is Baptized, so if a child born dies at say 6 months will go to Hell because they have this Sin. Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:11, Romans 5:12 (I could go on) all tell us that that 6 month old baby is sinful and deserves death, just like you and I do. To us it seems cruel and unjust, but God is the one being sinned against by that baby, not you or me. That child can be saved through Jesus' death and resurrection. I'm not sure on the Catholic position of infant forgiveness, but the bible teaches that the blood of Jesus is capable of saving anyone.

In terms of your question Do Catholics believe that God is not able to forgive Sin? I would say that Catholics believe that God is able to forgive sin. Forgiveness in the Catholic church is received through baptism, penance, confession, and reconciliation. (I'm not a Catholic, but I think I got that right).

share|improve this answer

The Catholic Church proclaims that Original Sin is not exactly as bad as you're making it out to be when at the Easter Vigil Mass it is read.

O happy fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer

This ancient meme is based on the writings of St. Augustine wherein he surmised that God showed through Scripture that it was better to allow sin with forgiveness than not to allow any evil to come in to the world (i.e. no freewill).


The Doctrine of Original Sin is Sacred Tradition, like the Trinity it is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but it is concrete unshakeable Christian Doctrine. Of course, Pelagius would disagree he thought it was a "matter for inquiry".

But it's not, denying Original Sin denies that we need the Sanctifying Grace of Jesus. But, keeping Original Sin keeps our need for Sanctifying Grace. Even without freewill, we still need Jesus because he keeps the sun going up and down. The Angels rely on God for existence, as do we. But we retain freewill so that we can freely say words like "Amen" when we receive the Eucharist and freely confess our sins and freely marry and start families.

The question isn't whether God had the power to abolish Original Sin, it's not even a question. The fact is Original Sin, as Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy:

But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved

And, like the Incarnation and the Trinity, it's just a theological fact. It's existence shows that it's part of God's plan and it's lack of non-existence shows that the alternative is not as good.

share|improve this answer

Original sin is probably not the best descriptive for the phenomena created by Adam and Eve's sin.

The actual sin that they committed was disobeying God.

What is now most commonly thought of as original sin is the original disobedience and that separates us from God.

What separates us from God is not their disobedience, but ours! And Satan still uses the same lie to get us to disobey God as he used to entice Eve to sin, that is by disguising sin as: pleasant to the eyes, and desired to make one wise.

When God created man he was pristine, what is meant by that is that man as God created him, was free of any trait or knowledge that was an offence to God. Man was free of making choices as to whether his actions were an offense to God or not, since he had no knowledge of what actions were good and which were bad.

God created man as a pristine being even as the animals. Animals make choices, such as where to sleep when to eat and so on. But in making decisions, animals are not burdened with having to guess whether they are right or wrong.

That was the way God created man, and it was his intention that man would be that innocent for eternity. However God gave man one power which he did not give to the animals, that being the power to reason. Along with the power to reason God also presented man with a choice not given to the animals, in that God Said:

All Scripture quoted are from the King James translation.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their sin was that they disobeyed God.

The gain of the knowledge of good and evil, changed them from the pristine nature in which God wanted them to be for eternity, and they were no longer acceptable to God since they were now imperfect, and God cannot abide imperfection.

Now comes the part which most people think of as original sin. Once man had gained the Knowledge of good and evil, it would be passed on to his progeny through procreation. The mind of man had been inexorably altered for eternity.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes but God knows they are imperfect as they created him correct? What I don't understand is in light of the OT how did things change, this nature is from the time of Adam so its not a new concept. The OT teaches to ask God for forgiveness no? –  user1361315 Feb 12 at 21:57
    
@user1361315 I must disagree with your statement that they were imperfect when God created them. Of course he knew that they would sin and become imperfect. As far as asking God for forgiveness that has not changed between the old testament and the new, the only difference is that before Christ it was a request for the future, and since Christ it is a request for instantaneous forgiveness. –  Bye Feb 12 at 22:21

Trying to understand Original Sin in light of OT. From what I understand so far, is that Adam's sin of eating from the tree is past down and everyone born has this sin on their record. Since self exalting sin produces anger and depression, the authority of parents produces self exaltation. Faith in authority therefore becomes a learned trait. If the parents however have learned the faith, their rise to anger and depression has been cast off and the child becomes raised holy.

This Sin is only washed away if one is Baptized, so if a child born dies at say 6 months will go to Hell because they have this Sin. Death occurs as a result of sin (Romans 6:23) or as a removal of the righteous from the wicked (Isaiah 57:1).

Women suffer labor pains because of this Sin, and men are put in charge over them. Men will toil on earth because of this Sin until the end of time. Yes, because the law is perfect and is active.

God is also just and this sin has to be paid for. And so it has, to learn how to cash in is the difficultly.

The Old Testament makes no reference to this sin Actually much is said about the result of the sin, but instead of pointing out how they all work together I do not want to distract from the answer that was provided.

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. (Isaiah 28:16)

Then later he says

Your covenant with death will be annulled... (Isaiah 28:18)

In fact it teaches that you will not bear the burden of anyone else. How is this fact reconciled? I need reference to this to answer.

Was this original Sin only for Christians and not for the previous generations? Original Sin stands against all who does not believe that Jesus will fulfill the law.

Do Catholics believe that God is not able to forgive Sin? No, Catholic believe in the absolution of sins.

So then how does one overcome original sin? the Stages of Grief show us that after Denial follows Anger, Bargaining, and Depression (self anger) now through the forgiveness offered by the death of Jesus we have communion with acceptance (John 15). Now the offensive truth may come at anytime, and Mark 13 expresses this with an analogy of the spirit being held within a building. The truth will shine in one of two known methods, either what is being said to you is known to yourself as a lie so that the truth shines from within, or the truth shines on you. For either way though, embarrassment is a good sign that the test has begun.

With each truth the spirit has only three responses. Either we accept the truth, having faith in the sacrifice, or the faith that Jesus will repay, or we deny God and exalt ourselves as with is the old usual, the original sin. Our bodies are the temple so when pride fills the heart "the abomination that causes desolation" stands where it does not belong. So as Mark 13 explains when this happened avoid the house get away from the "Lawless One", but if it you yourself that has been tossed into rage. Know the condemnation is coming, stop (repent) accept, and regain the holy spirit.

Now he has told us the times to watch for this test with the parable of the fig tree. When you get soft and you are about to bear fruit.

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. (Matthew 24:43)

So keep watch or or be torn down, or you may tear yourself down.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

Anger is caused by the decision to fix the threatening behavior (psychology). So don't decide to fix it! Have Faith that God will! If you do this your spirit will remain pure in the sight of the Lord.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.