The Profession of Faith
Paragraph 7. The Fall
God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no
one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature
which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and
above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from?
“I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution,” said St.
and his own painful quest would only be resolved
by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawless-
ness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our relig
The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the
same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace.
We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by
fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.
The reality of sin
Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it
or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to
understand what sin is, one must first recognize
the profound rela
tion of man to God,
for only in this relationship is the evil of sin
unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and
opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human
life and history.
Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of
sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins.
Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recog-
nize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a develop-
mental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary
consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the
knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse
of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are
capable of loving him and loving one another.
257 St. Augustine,
7, 7, 11: PL 32, 739.