Original Sin is the sin inherited by all humankind from Adam in his disobedience of God’s command not to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The Original Sin event is referred to as “The Fall of Man.”
Adam’s choice to disobey God’s command is considered a “fall” because his choice to sin represents a fall from grace. God created Adam in his image and likeness and saw that he was good, (Gen 1:26-31); Adam was created with an original grace and holiness. God shared his entire creation with Adam even giving him dominion over all other creatures and God gave one simple command for Adam to obey:
“The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.”
Adam and Eve were given the free choice to love and serve God. God gave us the ability to love God freely (free will) because true love is one that is not forced. With this ability to choose, mankind has chosen not to love God, hence our inheritance of a fallen nature.
Adam’s choice to disobey God and eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, after Eve was tempted by the serpent, demonstrated what is at the essence of all sin: that sin is rooted in man’s preference for himself over God. Instead of choosing God, Adam chose himself by eating of the fruit of the tree so that he could be like God, (Genesis 3:5). Humanity was forever changed through this event, losing its innocence of good and evil, bringing sin into the world.
Adam and Eve became aware of sin and its allure and, therefore, more susceptible to sin after having fallen to temptation. Making a choice to sin leads to weakness of the soul and a propensity to continue to sin.
The Nature of Original Sin
Original sin is not a committed sin, but rather a contracted sin. Unlike all other sins, which are acts of one’s own personal sin, it is a state of the soul, representing the fallen nature that was handed on to us by Adam who fell into death upon committing the original sin. It represents the fallen state of humanity in which we find ourselves devoid of the original grace and holiness with which humanity was created, (Genesis 1:31).
Sin not only has personal consequences on one’s own soul, but collective consequences that damage all souls. The Original Sin forever changed humanity by allowing sin to enter the world. Sin is rooted in our preference for ourselves over God. Through the Original Sin humanity took on a fallen nature, one that is incomplete without Jesus’ saving work on the cross.
Christ’s Redemption and Original Sin
The sin of Adam is linked directly to Christ’s redemption; through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, and through one man, Jesus, humanity is restored, (Romans 5:12-21). Jesus is the perfect sacrifice that atones for all of our sins. Jesus, in his complete humanity and complete divinity, is the only sacrifice that could make up for a fallen human nature.
God’s first covenant with humanity, through Adam, was broken through the original sin. God has created a new covenant in Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice. Jesus has given us a way to enter into this new covenant, through baptism. Baptism removes original sin and any personal sin, and cleanses the soul making it new and fresh. It makes one a new creature in Christ. God invites into this covenant with him freely and it is up to us to choose to enter into it and uphold our end of the bargain.