Original Sin—an essential truth of the faith
With the progress of Revelation, the reality of sin is also
illuminated. Although to some extent the People of God in the Old
Testament had tried to understand the pathos of the human con-
dition in the light of the history of the fall narrated in Genesis, they
could not grasp this story’s ultimate meaning, which is revealed
only in the light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We must knowChrist as the source of grace in order to knowAdam
as the source of sin. The Spirit-Paraclete, sent by the risen Christ,
came to “convict the world concerning sin,”
by revealing him
who is its Redeemer.
The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the “reverse
side” of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all
need salvation, and that salvation is offered to all through Christ.
The Church, which has the mind of Christ,
knows very well that
we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without
undermining the mystery of Christ.
How to read the account of the Fall
The account of the fall in
3 uses figurative lan-
guage, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place
beginning of the history of man.
Revelation gives us the certainty
of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original
fault freely committed by our first parents.
Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a
seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death
out of envy.
Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this
being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil.”
teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The
devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by
God, but they became evil by their own doing.”
13 § 1.
265 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513; Pius XII: DS 3897; Paul VI: AAS 58 (1966),
268 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.