70 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed
God made them, he filled Adam and Eve with all the grace and virtue
they would ever need, and they experienced a close relationship with
God beyond our ability to know. Because of the unity of the human
race, everyone is affected by the sin of our first parents, just as, in turn,
humanity is restored to a right relationship with God by Jesus Christ.
“Just as through one person sin entered the world, and by sin, death
and . . . just as through the disobedience of one person the many were
made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made
righteous. . . . Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Rom
5:12, 19, 20b). Though Original Sin has had far-reaching consequences,
of greater consequence has been God’s mercy to us through the death
and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Do we commit Original Sin? Original sin “is a sin ‘contracted’ and
not ‘committed’—a state and not an act” (CCC, no. 404). Each of us
inherits Original Sin, but it is not a personal fault of ours. It is a depri-
vation for each of us of original holiness and justice. This inheritance
leaves us in a world that is subject to suffering and death, as well as in an
environment in which the accumulated sins and failings of others disturb
peace and order.
What is the effect of Original Sin upon us? Original Sin underlies all
other sins and causes our natural powers of knowing and loving to be
wounded. We are subject to ignorance, which makes it difficult for us to
know the truth, and for some, even to believe that truth exists. We also
endure suffering and death and have a disorder in our appetites and an
inclination to sin. This inclination is called
. Because sin
alienates us from each other, it weakens our ability to live fully Christ’s
commandment of love for one another.
It is Jesus Christ who frees us from Original Sin and our own actual
sins. By Baptism, we share in the redemptive act of Jesus’ death and
Resurrection, are freed from Original Sin, and are strengthened against
the power of sin and death. We are reconciled to God and made mem-
bers of his holy people, the Church.