Original Sin in Eastern Orthodox Confessions and Catechisms

osinCompiled by Ephrem Hugh Bensusan   [source]

The following is from Our Orthodox Christian Faith: A Handbook of Popular Dogmatics by Athanasios S. Frangopoulos, theologian and teacher. Published by The Brotherhood of Theologians, “O Sotir”, in Athens, Greece, 1984.

Chapter 9, The Original Sin:

4.d. Guilt. The original sin which brought about man’s depravity also brought about his guilt. Man, through his transgression, became guilty before God as a transgressor of the divine command, guilty and accused before the justice of God the Lawgiver. The transgression contained guilt within it. Both are simultaneous. As soon as he committed the transgression he sensed guilt. within him. His conscience thundered out and said: “Sinner, you are guilty and stand accused before God”. It was this sense of guilt that made the first couple realize that they were naked, and hasten to hide before the face of God. Thus, wherever sin is to be found, there, too, exists guilt. The sin that Adam committed in Paradise did not result only in the depravity and moral perversion of man. It ushered also guilt and then God’s sentence and condemnation. This is felt by every man who sins. Immediately, remorse and pangs of conscience set in: a clear proof and confirmation of guilt. And the consequence of guilt is condemnation and punishment.

And this is the final phase of sin relevant to the body. Man was created from earth and unto the earth he is entrusted. God said this when He pronounced His verdict upon Adam: «ln the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread until thou return to the earth out of which thou was taken, for earth thou art and to earth thou shall return» (Gen. 3:19).

4.e. The inheritance of Original Sin. The saddest and ugliest aspect of Original sin is its transmission from the first man to his descendants and; from generation to generation to the entire human race: a hereditary transmission as a state and sickness of human nature and as a personal guilt of every man. That is to say, not only Adam sinned but in his person all his offsprings, all men who were to be descended from Adam. This means that Adam did not sin only as an individual but as progenitor and representative of the human race. For this reason God imputed upon all men the sin of the one. And to verify this Holy Scripture states: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3, 23). These words of the holy Apostle while certainly presenting the universality of sin do not tell us whence came this universal unhappy legacy. This the Apostle clearly defines further along when he says that it springs from the fall of the first parents. “Wherefore,” says the divinely-inspired Apostle, “as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5, 12); that is, in the person of Adam all his descendants were included and all inherited the sin of Adam and the results of that sin which are guilt, corruption and the depravity of our nature, the tendency and inclination towards evil and finally death. Thus, as we have already said, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. In the psalms we find the verse that says: “For behold I was conceived in iniquities and in sins did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 50, 5), and which can be applied to each and every one of us. Job, aware of the weight of sin, asks, “Who is pure from uncleaness?” and gives the answer himself: “Not even one; if even his life should be but one day upon the earth” (Job 14, 4-5). Furthermore, the Evangelist St. John emphasizes that we all have need to be reborn in water and the Spirit, for through birth the pollution of sin is transmitted to all of us, for “that which is born of flesh is flesh” (John 3, 6), and every sinful man is by nature subject to divine wrath in accordance with the saying “we were by nature the children of wrath”(Eph. 2, 3).

Of course this is an incomprehensible mystery. How could men who weren’t even born and consequently had neither thought nor will – necessary elements for sin – sin? How am I guilty of the sin of another, of a sin of which I personally possess no consciousness? That at sometime, somewhere I sinned and am thus justly guilty and subject to divine wrath? This is indeed an inexplicable mystery. Yet it is a fact that God imputed Adam’s sin upon the entire human race, and this imputation is a mysterious one; yet its transmission is completely natural. We have already brought forth similar examples and have said that a cloudy stream springs forth from a cloudy spring and that from a rotten root rotten branches and fruit blossom forth, and that from sick parents sick children are born. Such is the case here. With infected leaven all the dough will become infected; hence if the ancestors and progenitors were sinful and corrupt so will all the descendants be. Naturally and out of unavoidable necessity and consequence.

But let us not look only at the evil heritage which we all of course deeply sense within us and for the weight and wretched consequences of which we often weep. Let us also look upon our good and excellent heritage which we enjoy as Christians unto eternal life and salvation. The former is for us a curse, the latter a blessing. Cause of the first, our carnal progenitor, the first Adam. Cause of the latter, the blessing and the grace, is the second Adam and our progenitor, the Lord Jesus Christ. The evil inheritance we possess as carnal men, the good inheritance as spiritual Christians. We bear the curse because of our descent. The blessings we possess through faith and submission to Christ the Saviour.

The following is from The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church, also known as the Catechism of Metr. St. Philaret of Moscow, Examined and Approved by the Most Holy Governing Synod, and Published for the Use of Schools, and of all Orthodox Christians, by Order of His Imperial Majesty. (Moscow, at the Synodical Press, 1830).

153. Wherefore did the Son of God come down from heaven?For us men, and for our salvation, as it is said in the Creed.

154. In what sense is it said that the Son of God came down from heaven for us men?

In this sense: that he came upon earth not for one nation, nor for some men only, but for us men universally.

155. To save men from what did he come upon earth?

From sin, the curse, and death.

156. What is sin?

Transgression of the law. Sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John iii. 4.

157. Whence is sin in men, seeing that they were created in the image of God, and God can not sin?

From the devil. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. 1 John iii. 8.

158. How did sin pass from the devil to men?

The devil deceived Eve and Adam, and induced them to transgress God’s commandment.

159. What commandment?

God commanded Adam in Paradise not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and withal told him, that so soon as he ate thereof he should surely die.

160. Why did it bring death to man to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Because it involved disobedience to God’s will, and so separated man from God and his grace, and alienated him from the life of God.

161. What propriety is there in the name of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Man through this tree came to know by the act itself what good there is in obeying the will of God, and what evil in disobeying it.

162. How could Adam and Eve listen to the devil against the will of God?

God of his goodness, at the creation of man, gave him a will naturally disposed to love God, but still free; and man used this freedom for evil.

163. How did the devil deceive Adam and Eve?

Eve saw in Paradise a serpent, which assured her that if men ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would know good and evil, and would become as gods. Eve was deceived by this promise, and by the fairness of the fruit, and ate of it. Adam ate after her example.

164. What came of Adam’s sin?

The curse, and death.

165. What is the curse?

The condemnation of sin by God’s just judgment, and the evil which from sin came upon the earth for the punishment of men. God said to Adam, Cursed is the ground for thy sake. Gen. iii. 17.

166. What is the death which came from the sin of Adam?

It is twofold: bodily, when the body loses the soul which quickened it; and spiritual, when the soul loses the grace of God, which quickened it with the higher and spiritual life.

167. Can the soul, then, die as well as the body?

It can die, but not so as the body. The body, when it dies, loses sense, and is dissolved; the soul, when it dies by sin, loses spiritual light, joy, and happiness, but is not dissolved nor annihilated, but remains in a state of darkness, anguish, and suffering.

168. Why did not the first man only die, and not all, as now?

Because all have come of Adam since his infection by sin, and all sin themselves. As from an infected source there naturally flows an infected stream, so from a father infected with sin, and consequently mortal, there naturally proceeds a posterity infected like him with sin, and like him mortal.

169. How is this spoken of in holy Scripture?

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Rom. v. 12.

170. Had man any benefit from the fruit of the tree of life after he had sinned?

After he had sinned, he could no more eat of it, for he was driven out of Paradise.

171. Had men, then, any hope left of salvation?

When our first parents had confessed before God their sin, God, of his mercy, gave them a hope of salvation.

The following is from the Orthodox Confession of Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church also known as the Confession of Metr. Peter Mohyla, ratified by the Council of Jassy, 1642.

Q. 23. What is the state of man’s innocence?

R. The state of innocence is twofold, according to St. Basil. First of all, there is the detachment in mind and intention from all sins through the lengthy practice of good deeds. Secondly, there is the absence of the experience of evil, either because of age or other reasons. It is in this second way that Adam’s state of innocence before sin is taken, in all perfection and original justice as regards the intellect as well as the will. All knowledge is present in the intellect as is all goodness in the will. For since Adam knew God very well (to the degree that he was fittingly allowed), in knowing God he knew everything through him, this being a mark of the divine being. And when the animals were brought forward to be properly named, he assigned each one a name through his knowledge of their natures. His only concern was the knowledge of God and the pondering of his graces. As far as the will was concerned, it followed the principle that it was truly free and that man was free to sin or not to sin, as treated in Sacred Scripture: Do not say that God is the source of my lie, because “you must not do the things which he hates.” And later: “God made man from the beginning in the hand of his own counsel, if you wish to keep the commandments and perform the accepted fidelity.” And later: “Before man are life and death, good and evil; whatever he chooses will be given to him. God commanded nobody to do wickedly and gave nobody the license to sin.” And so in this state of innocence, man was similar to the angels. As soon as he sinned, he became mortal that very instant through deception in the state of sin. For so says Sacred Scripture: “The wages of sin are death.” Then he immediately lost the perfection of reason and knowledge, his will becoming more inclined to evil than to good. Thus was the state of innocence changed, through the experience of evil, into the state of sin, and perfect man appeared so worthless that he could now say with the Psalmist: “I am a worm, not a man.”

Q. 24. Are all men subject to the same sin of Adam?

R. Just as all men were in the state of innocence with Adam, so when he sinned, all men sinned in him and have remained in that state of sin. They are subject, therefore, not only to sin but also the punishment for sin, which is expressed in God’s decree: “On whatever day you shall eat of it, you will die the death.” Repeating the same, the holy Apostle says: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin – death, so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned.” For this reason we are conceived in the maternal womb and born even today in this sin, as the Psalmist says: “For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.” This sin is called original for these reasons: first, because before this time man was stained by no sin, although the devil sinned, through whose initiative the sin known as original arose in man. Adam, the perpetrator of the sin, is subject to it as also are we, his posterity. Secondly, it is called original because no man is conceived without it.

The following is from The Orthodox Catechism: Basic Teachings of the Orthodox Faith by Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto, Canada, 1989.

Original Sin And Its Consequences

The disobedience and transgression of Adam and Eve is called Original Sin. What happened? As we have previously said, God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat the fruit of all trees except the fruit of the tree “of the knowledge of good and evil.” Here is what the Bible says: “You may freely eat of every tree of the Garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die”(Genesis 2:16-17). In other words, God said to Adam and to Eve, “You may eat the fruit of all of the trees that are in the Garden and that are edible; it is only the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that you should not eat. On the day that you do eat it, you shall die.”

A guilty person wants an accomplice. Satan, who had been an angel and had disobeyed God, becoming Satan, felt guilty and terribly alone. He could keep company only with the other Satans, the demons. His nature had been perverted; he was unable and is unable ever to think about goodness. He always thinks and desires evil. He always seeks evil for others. He was jealous of man. He saw that he was so very happy in Paradise in the company of God. So he put his evil plans into action. As the spirit that he is, he entered the body of a snake. Then he climbed the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.” He waited there. Eve came and peered at the tree. Satan intruded upon her curiosity. He asked her, “Tell me, Eve, is it true that God told you not to eat the fruit of all of the trees?” Eve answered, “No. He told us to eat the fruit of all the trees except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because if we did we would die.” The serpent said, “You shall not die. God knows that on the day that you eat of that fruit, your eyes will open and you will become as gods. You will know good and evil.” Eve liked Satan’s sweet and slanderous words. She stretched out her hand. She took a fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She ate some, and she also gave some to her mate, Adam. They ate together. Immediately, “their eyes were opened” and they realized that they were naked (Genesis 3:1-7).

Because many people say that the Bible is being metaphorical and that by the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil the Bible refers to the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve, we repeat here that this is not true. God had decreed the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve when he told them to “increase and multiply.” Then what shall we say is the original sin? It is the denunciation of God. If you will, it is the attempt of man to disenthrone God and to enthrone himself in His place, to become God in the place of God. It is not merely that he ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. St. John Chrysostom says about Eve, “She was filled with grandiose imaginings, hoping to be equal to God.” Hoping to be equal to God, she lost her senses.

That is original sin. And its consequences? A.) Spiritual death. That is, the separation of man from God, the source of all goodness. B.) Bodily death. That is, the separation of the body from the soul, the return of the body to the earth. C.) The shattering and distortion of the “image.” That is, darkness of mind, depravity and corruption of the heart, loss of independence, loss of free will, and tendency towards evil. Since then “the imagination of man’s heart is evil “(Genesis 8:21). Man constantly thinks of evil. D.) Guilt. That is, a bad conscience, the shame that made him want to hide from God. E.) Worst of all, 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. We all of us participate in original sin because we are all descended from the same forefather, Adam. This creates a problem for many people. They ask, Why should we be responsible for the actions of Adam and Eve? Why should we have to pay for the sins of our parents? they say. Unfortunately, this is so, because the consequence of original sin is the distortion of the nature of man. Of course, this is unexplainable and belongs to the realm of mystery, but we can give one example to make it somewhat better understood. Let us say that you have a wild orange tree, from which you make a graft. You will get domesticated oranges, but the root will still be that of the wild orange tree. To have wild oranges again, you must regraft the tree. This is what Christ came for and achieved for fallen man, as we shall see in the following sections.

Our Creator and Maker, ours is the fault. Adam and Eve, listening to Satan, blasphemed. Out of egotism, they allowed themselves to be misled. They distorted the “image.” They darkened the beauty of the soul. They weakened the nature of mankind. Because of them, we became unrecognizable. “The imagination of our heart is evil.” We constantly think of evil. We feel so guilty. We are so far away from You. We have been grafted to evil. We have lost our self-control and our free will to do good. We thank You for Your love, and for sending Your Only-begotten Son to regraft us to goodness. For giving us the possibility of returning to You. You, Lord “want every man to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Do not deprive us of this. Do not deprive anyone of salvation. We thank You Lord.

The following is from An Online Orthodox Catechism, adopted from The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church, by Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev), of Vienna and Austria, 2002.

THE FALL

The biblical story of the Fall prefigures the entire tragic history of the human race. It shows us who we were and what we have become. It reveals that evil entered the world not by the will of God but by fault of humans who preferred diabolical deceit to divine commandment. From generation to generation the human race repeats Adam’s mistake in being beguiled by false values and forgetting the true ones — faith in God and verity to Him.

Sin was not ingrained in human nature. Yet the possibility to sin was rooted in the free will given to humans. It was indeed freedom that rendered the human being as an image of the Maker; but it was also freedom that from the very beginning contained within itself the possibility to fall away from God. Out of His love for humans God did not want to interfere in their freedom and forcibly avert sin. But neither could the devil force them to do evil. The sole responsibility for the Fall is borne by humans themselves, for they misused the freedom given to them.

What constituted the sin of the first people? St Augustine believes it to be disobedience. On the other hand, the majority of early church writers say that Adam fell as a result of pride. Pride is the wall that separates humans from God. The root of pride is egocenticity, the state of being turned in on oneself, self-love, lust for oneself. Before the Fall, God was the only object of the humans’ love; but then there appeared a value outside of God: the tree was suddenly seen to be ‘good for food’, ‘a delight to the eyes’, and something ‘to be desired’ (Gen.3:6). Thus the entire hierarchy of values collapsed: my own ‘I’ occupied the first place while the second was taken by the object of ‘my’ lust. No place has remained for God: He has been forgotten, driven from my life.

The forbidden fruit failed to bring happiness to the first people. On the contrary, they began to sense their own nakedness: they were ashamed and tried to hide from God. This awareness of one’s nakedness denotes the privation of the divine light-bearing garment that cloaked humans and defended them from the ‘knowledge of evil’. Adam’s first reaction after committing sin was burning sensation of shame. The second reaction was his desire to hide from the Creator. This shows that he had lost all notion of God’s omnipresence and would search for any place where God was ‘absent’.

However, this was not a total rupture with God. The Fall was not a complete abandonment: humans could repent and regain their former dignity. God goes out to find the fallen Adam; between the trees of Paradise He seeks him out asking ‘Where are you?’ (Gen.3:9). This humble wandering of God through Paradise prefigures Christ’s humility as revealed to us in the New Testament, the humility with which the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep. God has no need to go forth and look for Adam: He can call down from the heavens with a voice of thunder or shake the foundations of the earth. Yet He does not wish to be Adam’s judge, or his prosecutor. He still wants to count him as an equal and puts His hope in Adam’s repentance. But instead of repenting, Adam utters words of self-justification, laying the blame for everything on his wife: ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate’ (Gen.3:12). In other words, ‘It was You who gave me a wife; it is You who is to blame’. In turn, Eve lays the blame for everything on the serpent.

The consequences of the Fall for the first humans were catastrophic. They were not only deprived of the bliss and sweetness of Paradise, but their whole nature was changed and disfigured. In sinning they fell away from their natural condition and entered an unnatural state of being. All elements of their spiritual and corporeal make-up were damaged: their spirit, instead of striving for God, became engrossed in the passions; their soul entered the sphere of bodily instincts; while their body lost its original lightness and was transformed into heavy sinful flesh. After the Fall the human person ‘became deaf, blind, naked, insensitive to the good things from which he had fallen away, and above all became mortal, corruptible and without sense of purpose’ (St Symeon the New Theologian). Disease, suffering and pain entered human life. Humans became mortal for they had lost the opportunity of tasting from the tree of life.

Not only humanity but also the entire world changed as a result of the Fall. The original harmony between people and nature had been broken; the elements had become hostile; storms, earthquakes and floods could destroy life. The earth would no longer provide everything of its own accord; it would have to be tilled ‘in the sweat of your face’, and would produce ‘thorns and thistles’. Even the animals would become the human being’s enemy: the serpent would ‘bruise his heel’ and other predators would attack him (Gen.3:14-19). All of creation would be subject to the ‘bondage of decay’. Together with humans it would now ‘wait for freedom’ from this bondage, since it did not submit to vanity voluntarily but through the fault of humanity (Rom.8:19-21).

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

After Adam and Eve sin spread rapidly throughout the human race. They were guilty of pride and disobedience, while their son Cain committed fratricide. Cain’s descendants soon forgot about God and set about organizing their earthly existence. Cain himself ‘built a city’. One of his closest descendants was ‘the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle’; another was ‘the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe’; yet another was ‘the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron’ (Gen.4:17-22). The establishment of cities, cattle-breeding, music and other arts were thus passed onto humankind by Cain’s descendants as a surrogate of the lost happiness of Paradise.

The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

The Old Testament writers had a vivid sense of their inherited sinfulness: ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Ps.51:7). They believed that God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Ex.20:5). In the latter words reference is not made to innocent children but to those whose own sinfulness is rooted in the sins of their forefathers.

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘…As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous… so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).

The following is from the Catechism Of The Greek Orthodox Church by the Rev. Constas H. Demetry, D. D., Doctor of the Ecumenical Throne.

ON THE FALL OF OUR FIRST PARENTS

Q. Were our First Parents happy, and why?

A. Our First Parents were happy because they were innocent.

Q. Did God give them any commands and why?

A. He commanded them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that He might test their obedience. (Many people think that the fruit which the First Parents ate in disobedience to God was the carnal connexion. This is not true, because the lawful carnal connexion of man and woman and procreation of children is in accordance with the will of God, since God, as soon as He created the First Parents, blessed them and said to them:”Be Fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth..” …Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 28.

Q. Did they remain faithful to God? A. No, they fell into temptation, disobeyed, and sinned.

Q. What good would they have had if they had obeyed?

A. Their bodies would have become immortal like their souls, and they would have insured for themselves forever the happiness which they had.

Q. What did they suffer through the sin of disobedience?

A. 1. Their minds became darkened and they lost God. 2. Their hearts became perverted and they began to love the evil more than the good. 3. They fell into sickness and various other evils. 4. Their bodies became mortal. 5. Their souls were condemned to moral death, which is separation from God, i.e. eternal misfortune.

Q. Did only our First Parents suffer from their disobedience?

A. Unfortunately the whole human race born since has also suffered. They inherited the same evils, just as they would have inherited immortality and happiness, if our First Parents had obeyed; because just as impure water proceeds from an impure fountain so also sinful men are born of sinful ancestors.

Q. Did the rest of creation suffer anything from the disobedience of our First Parents?

A. Assuredly; and because of this, since then, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”, as the Apostle Paul writes in the Book of Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 22.

Q. What is that sin of disobedience, with all the evils which it brought, called?

A. The original sin.

Q. Are we responsible for the original sin?

A. Personally none; because we did not personally commit the sin of our First Parents; but we are charged with it by inheritance because we were in Adam and Eve when they sinned, and for this reason the Apostle Paul writes: “..all have sinned.” …Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 12. Page 16

Q. Has anyone been exempted from the original sin?

A. Only Jesus Christ, because He was incarnate of the Holy Spirit, which, being God, is without sin, and of the Virgin Mary after her cleansing of original sin by the Holy Spirit when the Angel announced to her the conception and birth of Christ.

Q. Does man also carry the burden of other sins besides the original sin?

A. Assuredly; personal sins. (The personal sins are mortal and non-mortal. Mortal are those which destroy any hope of repentance, because they bring the death of the soul, namely, moral, eternal death. But every sin may be forgiven by since repentance.

Q. What do personal sins lead to?

A. Personal sins lead to passion.

Q. What is passion and what evils does it inflict?

A. Passion is a bad habit, acquired through the repetition of sin. It takes away freedom and inflicts the same evils as the original sin.

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