Blog; Quora Answer: Where Did the Concept of Original Sin Originate?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ 

The following is my answer to a Quora question: “Where did the concept of Original Sin originate? 

Original Sin refers to the sin of Adam (a.s.) in the Garden when he disobeyed God and approached the Tree of Life, resulting in the Fall of Man.  It is a Christian doctrine.  There are many interpretations of this doctrine.  It was first known to be properly articulated as a doctrine in the 2nd century CE, by Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons.  It can be considered a reaction in the Catholic refutation of Gnostic dualism.  It was the consensus of the major Church Fathers that this is based on the teachings of Paul of Tarsus.  These included Bishop Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, Bishop Aurelius Ambrosius and Bishop Cyprian of Carthage. 

The passages on which Original Sin is based on are the following: 

Romans 5:12-21

12 It was through one man that guilt came into the world; and, since death came owing to guilt, death was handed on to all mankind by one man.  13 There was guilt in the world before ever the Law of Moses was Given.  Now, it is only where there is a law to transgress that guilt is imputed, 14 and yet we see death reigning in the world from Adam’s time to the time of Moses, over men who were not themselves guilty of transgressing a law, as Adam was.  In this, Adam was the type of him who was to come.  15 Only, the Grace which came to us was out of all proportion to the fault.  If this one man’s fault brought death on a whole multitude, all the more lavish was God’s Grace, shewn to a whole multitude, that free gift he made us in the Grace brought by one man, Jesus Christ.  16 The extent of the gift is not as if it followed a single guilty act; the sentence which brought us condemnation arose out of one man’s action, whereas the pardon that brings us acquittal arises out of a multitude of faults.  17 And if death began its reign through one man, owing to one man’s fault, more fruitful still is the grace, the gift of justification, which bids men enjoy a reign of life through one man, Jesus Christ.  18 Well then, one man commits a fault, and it brings condemnation upon all; one man makes amends, and it brings to all justification, that is, life.  19 A multitude will become acceptable to God through one man’s obedience, just as a multitude, through one man’s disobedience, became guilty.  20 The law intervened, only to amplify our fault; but, as our fault was amplified, grace has been more amply bestowed than ever; 21 that so, where guilt held its reign of death, justifying grace should reign instead, to bring us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

15 ἀλλ' οὐχ ὡς τὸ παράπτωμα, οὕτως καὶ τὸ χάρισμα: εἰ γὰρ τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς παραπτώματι οἱ πολλοὶ ἀπέθανον, πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἡ δωρεὰ ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐπερίσσευσεν.  16 καὶ οὐχ ὡς δι' ἑνὸς ἁμαρτήσαντος τὸ δώρημα: τὸ μὲν γὰρ κρίμα ἐξ ἑνὸς εἰς κατάκριμα, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα ἐκ πολλῶν παραπτωμάτων εἰς δικαίωμα.  17 εἰ γὰρ τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς παραπτώματι ὁ θάνατος ἐβασίλευσεν διὰ τοῦ ἑνός, πολλῷ μᾶλλον οἱ τὴν περισσείαν τῆς χάριτος καὶ τῆς δωρεᾶς τῆς δικαιοσύνης λαμβάνοντες ἐν ζωῇ βασιλεύσουσιν διὰ τοῦ ἑνὸς Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.  18 Ἄρα οὖν ὡς δι' ἑνὸς παραπτώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς κατάκριμα, οὕτως καὶ δι' ἑνὸς δικαιώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς: 19 ὥσπερ γὰρ διὰ τῆς παρακοῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ἁμαρτωλοὶ κατεστάθησαν οἱ πολλοί, οὕτως καὶ διὰ τῆς ὑπακοῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται οἱ πολλοί. 20 νόμος δὲ παρεισῆλθεν ἵνα πλεονάσῃ τὸ παράπτωμα: οὗ δὲ ἐπλεόνασεν ἡ ἁμαρτία, ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν ἡ χάρις, 21 ἵνα ὥσπερ ἐβασίλευσεν ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ, οὕτως καὶ ἡ χάρις βασιλεύσῃ διὰ δικαιοσύνης εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. 

15 Sed non sicut delictum, ita et donum: si enim unius delicto multi mortui sunt: multo magis gratia Dei et donum in gratia unius hominis Jesu Christi in plures abundavit.  16 Et non sicut per unum peccatum, ita et donum.  Nam judicium quidem ex uno in condemnationem: gratia autem ex multis delictis in justificationem.  17 Si enim unius delicto mors regnavit per unum: multo magis abundantiam gratiæ, et donationis, et justitiæ accipientes, in vita regnabunt per unum Jesum Christum.  18 Igitur sicut per unius delictum in omnes homines in condemnationem: sic et per unius justitiam in omnes homines in justificationem vitæ.  19 Sicut enim per inobedientiam unius hominis, peccatores constituti sunt multi: ita et per unius obeditionem, justi constituentur multi.  20 Lex autem subintravit ut abundaret delictum.  Ubi autem abundavit delictum, superabundavit gratia: 21 ut sicut regnavit peccatum in mortem: ita et gratia regnet per justitiam in vitam æternam, per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. 

1 Corinthians 15:22

22 …just as all have died with Adam, so with Christ all will be brought to life. 

22 ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν τῷ Ἀδὰμ πάντες ἀποθνῄσκουσιν, οὕτως καὶ ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ πάντες ζῳοποιηθήσονται. 

22 Et sicut in Adam omnes moriuntur, ita et in Christo omnes vivificabuntur. 

Essentially, it is a foundational doctrine to justify the Vicarious Sacrifice of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (a.s.).  Jesus Christ (a.s.) himself never said anything about it.  It came from Paul of Tarsus.



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