Is God the original sin

original sin

Adam and Eve,
Lucas Cranach the Elder Younger ones

The original sin (lat. "peccatum originale") is the succession of sins passed down from generation to generation of the"Original sin"the first parents Adam and Eve, through whom they lost friendship with God for themselves and all their descendants.

Original sin in God's plan of salvation

As described in the 3rd chapter of the book of Genesis, the first parents Adam and Eve sinned because they consented to the temptation of the devil and violated the divine command not to eat from the "tree of knowledge". Behind it stood pride and arrogance as well as a distrust of God.

As a punishment for this "Original sin"Adam and Eve lost sanctifying grace, that is, they lost the friendship of God and with it the certainty of the supernatural destiny of human existence. Likewise, their descendants should also experience the lack of this grace of sonship with God; this is the essence of original sin. Secondary consequences, but connected with original sin are the presence of suffering and death as punishment for sin, greed (concupiscence) as a disordered tendency to evil, as well as a clouding of knowledge and a weakening of the will.

Since God does not want people to be lost, he sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world as Savior to make up for original sin and all other sins. This happened through Christ's voluntary sacrificial death on the cross.

Through Mary, who was born free from original sin, the completion of God's plan of salvation became possible.

In baptism the hereditary debt is redeemed, while the secondary consequences of original sin are left to the person for moral probation; In the communion with Jesus Christ established in this way, however, the consequences of sins lose their punitive character and become an occasion and means to work salvation with the grace of God.

Council of Trent

The Council of Trent presented in Decretum de Peccato Originali states that all people following Adam, with the exception of Our Lady as the 'new Eve' (Immaculata), are affected by original sin.

Difficulties with the doctrine of original sin

Although the doctrine of original sin directly touches the central mystery of the Christian faith, namely the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, which could not be explained without original sin, many Christians today have difficulties in accepting the doctrine of original sin.

The main difficulties are as follows: On the one hand, it is felt to be unjust that the sin of our ancestors is also "blamed" on us descendants. On the other hand, the occurrence of original sin is difficult to classify historically in view of the scientific findings and current scientific theories about the development of the world, among other things because the world apparently was essentially as it is now, even before humans.

  • The first difficulty is easily overcome if one considers humanity as a unit, as apparently God intended. So humanity is much more than the sum of all human beings. Humanity as a whole is a family in which the actions of each individual affect everyone. This has the disadvantage that the sin of an individual () is ultimately bad for everyone, but the advantage that the good deed of the individual also benefits everyone.

Thus through the sin of the One (Adam) all people became sinners, and through the redeeming act of Christ (the new Adam) the gate to salvation was opened to all people.

Just as all people were condemned through the transgression of one person, so will justice be done for all people through the just act of one person. Just as one man's disobedience made the many sinners, so too will the many become righteous through the one man's obedience. (Rom 5,18-19)

  • The second difficulty is best met by looking at the current state of people and the world: It is quite obvious that something is wrong with people. The secondary consequences of original sin described above, suffering and death, human inclination to evil, weakening of knowledge and will, are entirely objective.

If we now recognize that, on the one hand, God is good and consequently only created good things and, on the other hand, a lot about human beings is by no means good, then one encounters a contradiction to which the idea of ​​original sin gives an answer. The bad in man can only originate from man himself, as a result of the abuse of his freedom, which God gave him before, so that man can turn to God in genuine free love.

The fundamental truth of original sin can therefore be recognized on the basis of the state of man and the world, even if the exact historical classification of this primarily supernatural event encounters difficulties.

Other attempts at explanation

Dualistic (Gnosis) and Far Eastern theories (Buddhism), which see the root of evil in matter that would be bad in principle, cannot be reconciled with belief in the good God. Thus the idea of ​​"self-redemption" by overcoming everything material is not compatible with Christianity; Salvation from guilt, justification of people (Martin Luther) is a gift from God for Christians. For the Christian, matter is good for two reasons: It was created by God and, through the incarnation of his Son, it was also incorporated into divine nature.

In the history of European philosophy, especially since the Enlightenment, there have been numerous counter-concepts to the doctrine of original sin:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was of the opinion that humans are inherently good and only become bad through society and culture. This can be overcome by an upbringing with isolation from as many cultural influences as possible. Rousseau's theories had a great influence on the development of reform pedagogy and the "anti-authoritarian education", especially in the 20th century, which, however, did not lead to the desired result of the "better, more natural person".

For Karl Marx, too, society was the root of the evil, which should ideally be destroyed by a violent revolution in order to then be able to establish the utopian "classless society" as a kind of paradise on earth. Here, too, the great Marxist revolutions of the 20th century did not bring the predicted result.

In what sin was the original sin?

The original sin was a sin of pride ("you become like God" - Gen 3,5 EU) and disregard for God (cf. CCC 398) as well as direct severe disobedience to God (cf. Rom 5:19 EU, KKK 397).

In the 19th century in particular, some theologians advocated the theory that original sin was related to sexuality. This is not pursued by the KKK (points 385-409) and John Paul II in his works on human love and cannot be kept exegetically. Original sin destroyed man's relationship with God and permanently impaired the relationship between people. It is not surprising that, as a consequence of original sin, human sexuality is also affected, which is precisely the core area of ​​the most intimate relationship between people, but it does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about any involvement of sexuality in original sin.



  • In Easter praise one finds the paradoxical idea of ​​the "happy guilt of Adam" at first sight: O truly saving sin of Adam, you became a blessing to us because Christ's death destroyed you.O happy guilt, what a great Redeemer you have found"


Paul III

Clement VIII


  • Heinrich Maria Köster:
    • Original, Fall and Original Sin. In der Scholastik (HDG II / 3b), Freiburg 1979
    • Original, Fall and Original Sin. From the Reformation to the Present (HDG II / 3c), Freiburg 1982
    • Urstand, Fall and Original Sin in the Protestant Theology of the 19th Century (Theology in Transition, Vol. 8), Frankfurt a. M. 1983
    • Urstand, Fall and Original Sin in the Catholic Theology of our Century (Eichstätter Studies NF 16), Regensburg 1983


  • CD audio book: Secret of Original Sin (Horst Obereder) (imKathShop)

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