We as humans have been born into Original Sin. We as Catholics talk about it all the time, yet we never really talk about what EXACTLY the Original Sin was. Sure, we know that God told Adam and Eve that they could eat off of any of the trees in the Garden of Eden except for one. The snake told Eve to go ahead and she grabbed it, ate it and gave it to Adam. Obviously, the sin was not listening to God. However, there is more to it then that. Looking at what scripture says, we read:
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. Genesis 3:1-7
The serpent being Satan, for those of you who don’t know, is quite a tricky one. He tempts us with whatever it is that will be our biggest and greatest down fall. Upon inquiring if God really said that (notice the doubt that he throws at us to wonder if God is tricking us) and after Eve’s response of what exactly God said that “they will surely die”, Satan comes back with the lie “You certainly will not die!”. Now, Satan knows very well that God did not mean a literal death, but a spiritual death. In Genesis 2:25 Adam and Eve were naked and without shame. Now, after eating the fruit, they realized they were naked, and they felt shame.
When we sin, we disconnect ourselves from God. Satan knows this. He despises us and wants us to feel disconnected from God. He has pride issues. This is why he threw this at us.
Before I continue further, I haven’t answered the initial question. What was the original sin? Well, it says so right there “No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad”.
“You will be like gods”, or, the desire to be a god, determining what is good and what is bad. This is the original sin.
How often do we see society determine what is good and what is bad? All the time. We (as a society) say things like “Sure, the Catholic Church says this is wrong, but what do you believe?” Well, frankly, it doesn’t really matter what you believe. Belief in something, does not constitute a moral good. Yet, we constantly hear “well, I don’t believe that!”. What constitutes a moral good is whether it is indeed good or evil. Obviously, if it is evil, it doesn’t matter if someone believes it to be okay, for an act of evil, no matter what the intention may be, is always an evil act.
It is becoming more and more difficult to pick a mortal sin that society would agree is an act of evil, but I would imagine that most people would agree that murdering somebody for the sake of murder would be an act of evil. It doesn’t matter if a small minority of the population believes it to be a good thing, it is still evil.
You can look all through history and notice that there were acts of evil that were legal at one point or another (slavery, prostitution, death penalties), as well as agreed upon evil acts that are now legal (abortion).
The Church has always come out to condemn immoral activities. That is her mission, to spread the Gospel to all that will hear. The Church hates the sin, not the sinner, and this is how we are all supposed to view sin. However, there are many people who are committing the Original Sin of becoming gods to know what is right and wrong.
How many Catholics are there who are actively using birth control in their marriages? Translation: I determine what is right and wrong!
How many Catholics are there who are actively in support of abortion? Translation: I determine what is right and wrong!
How many Catholics are there who (insert favorite Catholic Church not supported activity here)? Translation: I determine what is right and wrong.
Every time we sin, we are falling into Original Sin. As every time we sin, we basically spit in God’s face and say “I don’t care if you say its wrong, I choose this!” It is important that we recognize this. I’m not perfect, I’m far from it. What I can tell you though, is as a sinner, I need to realize that when I choose to sin, I am turning my back on Christ. You do the same as well.
But, there is good news in all of this sadness and despair. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) can save you. Christ came to forgive you and to take upon your sins. When you confess your sins to a priest, you are forgiven of those sins and are reborn as a new person. Your old sinful self dies, to be resurrected as a brand new person, free from those attachments. The memories will still be there, but the guilt and the spiritual consequences will be lifted from you. I urge you to go! No sin is too big for Jesus.