A Quick Look At Sin

In an age of relativism and moral subjectivism, sin is either misunderstood or rejected and denied of its destructive power.  The sinner does not recognize sin and its harmful nature because he mostly thinks of sin as an ancient tradition and practice.  Additionally, when what is considered to be personally preferable is considered to be morally allowable, there seems to be no such thing as sin.  At any rate, even if the modern man is to admit that there is such thing as sin, he seems to think that it only takes place when an action is performed with extremely grievous nature, e.g., murder, rape, and so forth.  As it seems, justifications for actions based on situational ethics, e.g. “it’s OK for me to have an abortion because I’m a single mother and can’t possibly give my child a good quality of life”, completely dominate reflective moral thinking and actions that are wrong are judged right because one can justify it personally.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers several understandings of sin including the “offense of reason, truth and right conscience.”[1]  Sin is the vindication of that which is perverse and evil over that which is good and pure.  In a theological framework, “sin is the violation of the order that God has established.”[2]  This violation of the order is usually actualized through wrong moral actions (although not always).  Sin is therefore the rebellious nature of one who refuses to do the will of God; and who consequently is alienated in a twofold division.  The sinner is first alienated from himself since he rejects the goodness in his nature which God has created for Himself.  Secondly, the sinner is alienated from others through his sin.  Note from the very first story of the Adam and Eve and their love.  Under the condition of original justice, Adam would have gladly suffered for Eve because of his profound love for her, the flesh of his flesh and the bones of his bones.  Having committed sin: “The man blames the woman for his own guilt: his is quite prepared even to put the responsibility for his iniquity on his beloved wife.”[3]

The kinds of alienation that sin causes destroy the fundamentally goodness of human nature.  Human beings are created in such a way that we are to be in communion with one another and with God.  This point is made by John Paul II when he wrote in Fides et Ratio that “…human beings are not made to live alone”, and that “…God out of the abundance of his love speaks to men and women as friends and lives among them, so that he may invite and take them into communion with himself.”[4]  But with sin these communions are either harmed or destroyed.

[1] Catechism #1849
[2] De Rosa, Christ and Original Sin
[3] De Rosa, Christ and Original Sin
[4] Fides et Ratio #10


One comment on “A Quick Look At Sin

  1. Great post 🙂
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