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Reflections: Catholic Basics Section (Original Sin)

Adam & Eve Banished From Paradise

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Catholic Basics Section:

Original Sin

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Original Sin



Original Sin

Also See: Original Sin (Topic Page)

"Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband, who did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons. And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee. And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work: with labor and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return." (Gen. 3:1-19)

"True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me." (Ps. 50/51:7)

"Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned - for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come." (Rom 5:12-14)

"We have all been soiled by original and actual sin; we all shall die." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"Oh! Terrible page of man's history! It alone explains to us our present position on the earth." (Dom Gueranger)

"[W]e are cleansed from original sin only by Baptism." (Catechism of St. John Neumann)

"The remission of all sin, original and actual, is therefore the peculiar effect of Baptism." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[O]n account of original sin heaven was closed and was to be opened only by Jesus Christ." (Catechism of St. John Neumann)

"To be born means to be in the arms of the demon rather than the arms of God. Baptism ransoms us from this slavery and makes us free, children of God." (Pope Paul VI, 1972)

"Adam was brought into being; and we were all brought into being in him. Adam perished and in him all perished." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 389 A.D.)

"God could have restored man to himself by simply forgiving man's sin, but then there would have been mercy without justice." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"Original sin is the sin in which we are all born, and which we contracted by the disobedience of our first parent, Adam." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"The chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin are: death, suffering, ignorance, and a strong inclination to sin." (Baltimore Catechism)

"[S]uch is the admirable efficacy of this Sacrament [of Baptism] that it remits original sin and actual guilt, however unthinkable its enormity may seem." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"On account of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, come into the world deprived of sanctifying grace and inherit his punishment, as we would have inherited his gifts had he been obedient to God." (Baltimore Catechism)

"It is our sin also because Adam, having committed it in his capacity as the head and source of the human race, it was transmitted by natural generation to all his descendants: and hence in us it is original sin." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"How, my soul, couldst thou, that was made the lord of serpents and beasts, treat the soul-slaying serpent with familiarity, and use thine enemy as a trusty counselor? Bewail, my retched soul, thy fatal error!" [Liturgical Year (Thursday of Septuagesima Week)]

"[T]he first man whom no man threatened, of his own free-will rebelling against a threatening God, forfeited so great a happiness and so great a facility of avoiding sin" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The first sin of our first parent, from which sin was transmitted to a men, was not disobedience considered as a special sin, but pride, from which then man proceeded to disobey." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Original sin incurs everlasting punishment, not on account of its gravity, but by reason of the condition of the subject, viz. a human being deprived of grace, without which there is no remission of sin." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"God is not unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam, because original sin does not take away from us anything to which we have a strict right as human beings, but only the free gifts which God in His goodness would have bestowed on us if Adam had not sinned." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Original sin is transmitted to all men because God, having conferred sanctifying grace and other supernatural gifts on the human race in Adam, on the condition that Adam should not disobey Him; and Adam having disobeyed, as head and father of the human race, rendered human nature rebellious against God." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"Though original sin has less of the nature of sin than actual sin has, yet it is a more grievous evil, because it is an infection of human nature itself, so that, unlike actual sin, it could not be expiated by the satisfaction of a mere man." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The sacrament of Baptism confers first sanctifying grace by which original sin is washed away, as well as all actual sin if any such exists; it remits all punishment due on account of such sins; it imprints the character of a Christian; it makes us children of God, members of the Church, and heirs to Paradise, and enables us to receive the other sacraments." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"[H]uman nature was stained by original sin, and is therefore more disposed to vice than to virtue. For a virtuous life it is absolutely necessary to restrain the disorderly movements of the soul, and to make the passions obedient to reason. In this conflict human things must very often be despised, and the greatest labors and hardships must be undergone" (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884 A.D.)

"[O]riginal sin...has so destroyed the wonderful harmony of man's faculties that, easily led astray by his evil desires, he is strongly incited to prefer the passing goods of this world to the lasting goods of Heaven. Hence arises that unquenchable thirst for riches and temporal goods, which has at all times impelled men to break God's laws and trample upon the rights of their neighbors" (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931 A.D.)

"Our Creator compassionated his creature, our first parent, when, being deceived, he became a victim of death by eating the fatal fruit: and even then He chose the tree, whereby to make good the evils brought on us by that other tree... This was the plan designed for our salvation: that artifice divine should foil the artifice of Satan, the archseducer; and turn the very instrument, wherewith the enemy had wounded us, into our remedy." [From 6th Century Hymn (Liturgical Year)]

"[T]he guilt and punishment of original sin were not confined to Adam, but justly descended from him, as from their source and cause, to all posterity. The human race, having fallen from its elevated dignity, no power of men or Angels could raise it from its fallen condition and replace it in its primitive state. To remedy the evil and repair the loss it became necessary that the Son of God, whose power is infinite, clothed in the weakness of our flesh, should remove the infinite weight of sin and reconcile us to God in His blood." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"But men, negligent and refusing to look at God, devised and contrived evil for themselves...and received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened. From that time on they no longer remained as they has been made, but were corrupted in accord with their own devices; and death held sway over them as a king. For transgression of the commandment turned them back to their natural state, so that just as they had come into existence out of nothingness, likewise they might rightly expect the corruption of their existence in the course of time." (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church, c. 318 A.D.)

"In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently - who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment - they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)

"The holy Synod declares first, that, for the correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of Justification, it is necessary that each one recognize and confess, that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam - having become unclean, and, as the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin, - they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and of death, that not the Gentiles only by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter itself of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated, or to arise, therefrom; although free will, attenuated as it was in its powers, and bent down, was by no means extinguished in them." (Council of Trent)

"In the transgression of Adam all men lost their 'natural power' and innocence, and no one can rise from the depth of that ruin through free will, unless the grace of a merciful God raise him up, [according as] Pope Innocent of blessed memory proclaimed and said in his letter to the Council of Carthage: 'For he, having once braved every consequence of free choice, while he used his goods too unadvisedly, fell and was overwhelmed in the depth of his transgression, and found no [way] by which he was able to rise from it; and beguiled forever by his own liberty he would have lain prostrate by the weight of this ruin, if the coming of Christ had not afterwards lifted him up by virtue of His grace, who through the purification of a new regeneration washed away in the bath of His baptism every past sin.'" (Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D.)

"On account, however, of original sin, our whole nature had fallen into such guilt and dishonor that we had become enemies to God. 'We were by nature the children of wrath' (Eph. ii., 3). There was no power which could raise us and deliver us from this ruin and eternal destruction. But God, the Creator of mankind and infinitely merciful, did this through His only begotten Son, by whose benefit it was brought about that man was restored to that rank and dignity whence he had fallen, and was adorned with still more abundant graces. No one can express the greatness of this work of divine grace in the souls of men. Wherefore, both in Holy Scripture and in the writings of the fathers, [baptized] men are styled regenerated, new creatures, partakers of the Divine Nature, children of God, god-like, and similar epithets." (Pope Leo XIII, "Divinum Illud Munus", 1897 A.D.)

"The sentence pronounced by the Almighty upon our first parents was to fall upon their children to the end of time. We have been considering...the penalties of the great sin; but the severest and most humiliating of them all remains to be told. It is the transmission to the whole human race of original sin. It is true that the merits of the promised Redeemer will be applied to each individual man [as applicable], in the manner established by God at various periods of time: still, this spiritual regeneration, whilst cleansing us from the leprosy which covered us, and restoring us to the dignity of children of God, will not remove every scar of the old wound. It will save us from eternal death, and restore us to life; but, as long as our pilgrimage lasts, we shall be weak and sickly. Thus it is that ignorance makes us short-sighted in those great truths, which should engross all our thoughts; and this fills us with illusions, which, by an unhappy inclination of our will, we cling to and love. Concupiscence is ever striving to make our soul a slave to the body; and in order to escape this tyranny, our life has to be one continual struggle. An unruly love for independence is unceasingly making us desire to be our own masters, and forget that we were born to obey. We find pleasure in sin, whereas virtue rewards us with nothing in this life, save the consciousness of our having done our duty." (Dom Gueranger)

"The serpent's promises had stifled, in Eve's heart, every sentiment of love for the God that had created her and loaded her with blessings: she is ambitious to be God like Him! Her faith, too, is wavering; she is not sure that God may not have deceived her, by threatening her with death should she disobey His command. Flushed by pride, she looks up to the forbidden fruit; it seems good to eat, and it is fair to her eyes. So that her senses too conspire against God, and against her own happiness. The sin is already committed in her heart; it needs but a formal act to make it complete. She cares for nothing but self; God is no more heeded than if He did not exist. She stretches forth her daring hand; she plucks the fruit; she puts it to her mouth, and eats! God had said that if she broke His commandment she should die; she has eaten, she has sinned, and yet she lives as before! Her pride exults at this triumph, and, convinced that she is too strong for God's anger to reach her, she resolves on making Adam a partner in her victory. Boldly she hands him the fruit, which she herself has eaten without any evil coming to her. Whether he was emboldened by the impunity of his wife's sin, or, from a feeling of blind affection, wished to share the lot of her who was the 'flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones,' our first father, also, forgets all he owes to his Creator, and, as though there had never been aught of love between him and his God, he basely does as Eve suggests: he eats of the fruit, and by that act ruins himself and all his posterity." (Dom Gueranger)

"I answer that, As stated in the foregoing Article, on account of their sin, our first parents were deprived of the Divine favor, whereby the integrity of human nature was maintained in them, and by the withdrawal of this favor human nature incurred penal defects. Hence they were punished in two ways. In the first place by being deprived of that which was befitting the state of integrity, namely the place of the earthly paradise: and this is indicated (Genesis 3:23) where it is stated that 'God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure.' And since he was unable, of himself, to return to that state of original innocence, it was fitting that obstacles should be placed against his recovering those things that were befitting his original state, namely food (lest he should take of the tree of life) and place; for 'God placed before... paradise... Cherubim, and a flaming sword.' Secondly, they were punished by having appointed to them things befitting a nature bereft of the aforesaid favor: and this as regards both the body and the soul. With regard to the body, to which pertains the distinction of sex, one punishment was appointed to the woman and another to the man. To the woman punishment was appointed in respect of two things on account of which she is united to the man; and these are the begetting of children, and community of works pertaining to family life. As regards the begetting of children, she was punished in two ways: first in the weariness to which she is subject while carrying the child after conception, and this is indicated in the words (Genesis 3:16), 'I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions'; secondly, in the pain which she suffers in giving birth, and this is indicated by the words (Genesis 3:16), 'In sorrow shalt thou bring forth.' As regards family life she was punished by being subjected to her husband's authority, and this is conveyed in the words (Genesis 3:16), 'Thou shalt be under thy husband's power.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church") 

"In return for all these gratuitous and magnificent gifts, God asks of them but one thing: that they acknowledge His dominion over them. Nothing, surely, can be sweeter to them than to make such a return; nothing could be more just. All they are, and all they have, and all the lovely creation around them, has been produced out of nothing by the lavish munificence of this God; they must, then, live for Him, faithful, loving, and grateful. He asks them to give him one only proof of this fidelity, love, and gratitude: He bids them not to eat of the fruit of one single tree. The only return He asks for all the favors He has bestowed upon them, is the observance of this easy commandment. His sovereign justice will be satisfied by this act of obedience. They ought to accept such terms which hearty obedience. They ought to accept such terms with hearty readiness, and comply with them with a holy pride, as being not only the tie which will unite them with their God, but the sole means in their power of paying Him what He asks of them. But there comes another voice, the voice of a creature, and it speaks to the woman: 'Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree?' And Eve dares, and has the heart, to listen to him that ask why her divine Benefactor has put a command upon her! She can bear to hear the justice of God's will called into question! Instead of protesting against the sacrilegious words, she tamely answers them! Her God is blasphemed, and she is not indignant! How dearly we shall have to pay for this ungrateful indifference, this indiscretion!... Eve not only listens to the serpent's question, she answers him; she converses with the wicked spirit that tempts her. She exposes herself to danger; her fidelity to her Maker is compromised. True, the words she uses show that she has not forgotten His command; but they imply a certain hesitation, which savors of pride and ingratitude. The spirit of evil finds that he has excited, in this heart, a love of independence; and that, if he can but persuade her that she will not suffer from her disobedience, she is his victim. He, therefore, further addresses her with these blasphemous and lying words: 'No, you shall not die the death; for God knoweth, that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.' What he proposes to Eve is open rebellion. He has enkindled within her that perfidious love of self which is man's worst evil, and which, if it be indulged, breaks the tie between him and his Creator. Thus the blessings God has bestowed, the obligation of gratitude, personal interest, are all to be disregarded and forgotten. Ungrateful man would become a god; he would imitate the rebel angels: he shall fall as they did." (Dom Gueranger)

"That our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God, may, errors being purged away, continue in its own perfect and spotless integrity, and that the Christian people may not be carried about with every wind of doctrine; whereas that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of mankind, amongst the very many evils with which the Church of God is in these our times troubled, has also stirred up not only new, but even old, dissensions touching original sin, and the remedy thereof; the sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent - lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the three same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein - wishing now to come to the reclaiming of the erring, and the confirming of the wavering, following the testimonies of the sacred Scriptures, of the holy Fathers, of the most approved councils, and the judgment and consent of the Church itself, ordains, confesses, and declares these things touching the said original sin: 1. If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema. 2. If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema: whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. 3. If any one asserts, that this sin of Adam - which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propagation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own - is taken away either by the powers of human nature, or by any other remedy than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath reconciled us to God in his own blood, made unto us justice, sanctification, and redemption; or if he denies that the said merit of Jesus Christ is applied, both to adults and to infants, by the sacrament of baptism rightly administered in the form of the Church; let him be anathema: For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. Whence that voice; Behold the lamb of God behold him who taketh away the sins of the world; and that other; As many as have been baptized, have put on Christ. 4. If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers' wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting - whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, let him be anathema. For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 5. If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away; but says that it is only rased, or not imputed; let him be anathema. For, in those who are born again, there is nothing that God hates; because, There is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death; who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man, and putting on the new who is created according to God, are made innocent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy synod confesses and is sensible, that in the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned. This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin. This same holy Synod doth nevertheless declare, that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV, of happy memory, are to be observed, under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews." (Council of Trent)

Also See: Sin | Mortal Sin | Concupiscence | Necessity of Baptism (Sacraments Reflections) | Baptism (Sacraments Reflections) | Baptism (Sacraments Section) | Salvation | Jesus Christ | The Passion / The Cross | No Salvation Outside the Church

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