Original sin

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Original sin, sometimes called ancestral sin,[1] is, according to a doctrine proposed in Christian theology, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man.[2] This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred to as a "sin nature," to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt by all humans through collective guilt.[3]

Those who uphold this doctrine look to the teaching of Paul the Apostle in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22 for its scriptural base,[2] and see it as perhaps implied in an Old Testament passage Psalm 51:5.

Some Christians do not accept the doctrine indicated by the terms "original sin" or "ancestral sin", which are not found in the Bible. The same applies to terms such as "Trinity" used to express other Christian doctrines. The doctrine is not found in other religions, such as Judaism,[4] Islam,[5] and Hinduism.[6]

In the theology of the Catholic Church, original sin is regarded as the general condition of sinfulness, that is (the absence of holiness and perfect charity) into which humans are born, distinct from the actual sins that a person commits. This teaching explicitly states that "original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants".[7] In other words, human beings do not bear any "original guilt" from Adam and Eve's particular sin. The prevailing view, also held in Eastern Orthodoxy, is that human beings bear no guilt for the sin of Adam and Eve.

Although Orthodoxy prefers using the term "ancestral sin",[8][9] which indicates that "original sin is hereditary. It did not remain only Adam and Eve's. As life passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original sin "[10] In this quotation, "original sin" is used not of the personal sin of Adam, which is his alone and is not transmitted, but in reference to the "distortion of the nature of man", which is inherited.

An important exposition of the belief of Eastern Christians identifies original sin as physical and spiritual death, the spiritual death being the loss of "the grace of God, which quickened (the soul) with the higher and spiritual life".[11] Others see original sin also as the cause of actual sins: "a bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matthew 7:17, NIV), although, in this view, original and actual sin may be difficult to distinguish.[12]

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