Does sin exist?

We know that light and darkness exist. We know that goodness and evil exist and that God doesn’t want evil. Where, then, does evil come from? Where do wars, crimes, sufferings come from? If man were innocent, without guilt, we would have to ascribe such evil to God but, as we have seen, God is infinitely good and, therefore, it would be blasphemous to ascribe Him the crimes which devastate our world. On the other hand, to say that man cannot sin is to deny his freedom: man can do right or wrong, he can choose water or fire, man is free.

Sin is an offence against God and also an offence against men, who are unjustly injured, by choosing a misunderstood love to oneself; it is also an offence against oneself, because it injures our own nature itself, degrading ourselves (only when we love and fear God , do we really love each other and respect  ourselves). Sin is the root of all evil. It becomes the darkness of the soul, by refusing light, which is God. Finally, it is the possibility of an eternal condemnation, were it not  that we seek protection of the infinite mercifulness of God and we deeply repent in our heart.

(*: see Catechism Nº 386 and following ones, and Nº 1846 and following ones). Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created people, in order that they can love Him and love each other (it is as if a wonderful torch to be lit were given to us, and we used it for arson). Referring to the first sin committed by man, Catechism explains to us  that “man let the trust to his Creator dye in his heart and, abusing his freedom, he disobeyed”; “any sin is a disobedience and lack of trust in God’s goodness”; “in this sin, man preferred himself  to God, therefore rejecting God: he chose himself before God and he wanted to be God but without God, before God and not according to God”.

Instead,God wants that we become god-like, following a way of humility and love. Sin destroyed man’s harmony and peace with himself, with his fellow-creatures and with Creation: it is the source of any evil. Sin crucified our Lord Jesus Christ, true man and true God. But from his painful Passion sprang the source of infinite mercifulness, through which the repented sinner can reach forgiveness.

“God created us without us but he didn’t want to save us without us” (Saint Augustin); it depends on us, on our freedom to choose the fresh water of grace or the terrible fire of sin. “If we say we have no sin, we delude ourselves” but “there where sin abounded, grace abounded even more” (if, repented, we go back to Him, God’s mercifulness is infinite) (Nº 1847).

When we sin we degrade ourselves, we betray ourselves and betray the best part of ourselves. The lack of love and saint fear of God, our Father, is a betrayal of our real identity, “Sin is a fault against reason, truth, right conscience, it is to fail in the real love of God and of our neighbour, due to a perverse attachment to some goods” (N1 1849).

“Deadly sin (a sin in serious matter, with deliberate consent and full knowledge) destroys charity (the true love of God and of our brothers) in man’s heart”. For the forgiveness of the sins there are two sacraments; Baptism and Confession or Penitence.

Some sectsproclaim that sin doesn’t exist, that we are all innocent: “We haven’t transgressed any law. Divine laws are immutable, inviolable in the strictest sense and cannot be altered or transgressed… their observance is inexorable and no creature has the power to interfere” (we can read this in a little work of one of these sects). And also: “God does not feel betrayed by man, since nothing occurs that doesn’t follow His plan: we are innocent”.

Answer: God says “Thou will not kill”: Nevertheless, experience sadly shows us that many men, even when not crazy, kill, disobeying God.Therefore, God’s laws can be transgressed, disobeyed by man who is free to act rightly or wrongly.Let’s imagine it is not like that and that man is not free and, therefore, he isn’t responsible for his acts: In such a case, he would be like an robot, like an animal which does everything following the laws of instinct, like an irresponsible and unconscious machine which does this or that, without any merit on its part.

Thus, man would be like the animals and wouldn’t have any merit and therefore, he wouldn’t be entitled to happiness or Heaven. Like animals, who don’t deserve Heaven. He wouldn’t deserve hell either, because he would act following God’s laws which couldn’t be transgressed. There would be no sin nor merit, man would be innocent as animals are, which means without merit on their side.

But, what is real?: That God created man in his image and likeness and, therefore, free and able to act morally well. Not able to produce honey like bees do, without freedom, by following the laws of Nature, of God, in an automatic way, but able to act freely and well with effort, not as a machine without merit but as a free being, with a real moral goodness which approaches him to God, who acts well freely.

And, freedom, since it gives us the chance to act really well -not like machines or animals- to be like God, is a good thing. As light is a good thing, as well. Nevertheless, as light has its counterpoint in darkness, also freedom to act really well has its counterpoint: that free man can act wrong. He can use his freedom, which is a good thing like light, to act wrong: That is sin. To refuse the existence of sin is to refuse that man is free.

In what sense are divine laws inviolable? In the sense that, in the end, God will give everyone what he or she is entitled to, in the sense that nobody will escape God’s justice. Also in the sense that all what happens is permitted by God, in the case of sin, which is not wanted by God, He allows it because He wants our freedom, even if we use it wrongly. He will extract good things yet from evil things.

But when we are in this world we can disobey God, we can transgress his laws: to deny this would be equivalent to say that the horribly fratricidal wars are not the responsibility of men but of God, since man would be not able to modify divine laws. Therefore God would be guilty of horrible crimes: God would be unjust, would be not good and, therefore, he wouldn’t be God.

The writings of the sect go on as follows: “God doesn’t feel betrayed by man, since nothing occurs that doesn’t follow His plan: we are innocent”.

 

But Jesus, true God and true man, when was on Gethsemane and Judas betrayed him, said: “Judas, with a kiss you deliver the Son of Man?” We can betray God and we do it when we don't follow our conscience, which tells us what is right and what is wrong.

That we can betray God means that sin is not only an offence towards our brother but, most of all, an offence towards God (Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church Nº 1850). God wouldn’t be hurt by our sins had He not wished to descend to our level, within our reach, and become man: Our sins nailed Jesus to the cross: “sinners themselves were the authors and the tools of all the pain suffered by the divine Redeemer (Catechism Nº 598)

We are not innocent, since we all have sinned. (“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”- 1 John 1, 8). Nevertheless, God is infinitely merciful and if we repent, if we cry for our sins, He forgives us and embraces us like prodigal sons and sacrifices for us the best animal of his herd, in order that we are glad because of the new innocence that He gives to us. In the Evangel it is said that there will be more joy in Heaven for a repented sinner than for 99 just people who don’t need to submit to a penance. On the Scripture we can read: “Even if your sins are red like cochineal, I’ll render them as white as snow”. God’s mercifulness is like an infinite sea, which cleans all our dirtiness, on condition that we give us to Him with open arms. To recover God’s friendship is such a big joy, that it erases all neurosis and pains, rejuvenating us and overwhelms us with peace.

People of the mentioned sect say: “Nothing occurs that isn’t in His plan (in God’s plan) ”: That is right but in a different sense to their meaning: God extracts good consequences even from evil, from sin: Thus, if Judas betrayed Him, he used this treason to give the best proof of love, to die for men and, at the price of His blood, redeem them from sin, on condition that man recognizes his sin, humbly asking for forgiveness.

Nevertheless, God’s plan doesn’t want sin, but man’s freedom and that man be in His image and likeliness, He wants freedom, which is a good thing, tolerating its bad consequences, sins and crimes, although He will draw out good consequences from such bad deeds: more merit for just people, mercifulness for repented sinners and eternal justice for sinners who don’t want to repent. God’s plan will be fulfilled, however much we rebel and disobey, but if we don’t freely repent this plan will include our eternal condemnation.

All sins have forgiveness but whoever says sin doesn’t exist doesn't ask for forgiveness anymore and, therefore, he himself closes the door to God’s mercifulness, which is not for just people but for sinners.

That’s why it is the worse mistake to say that sin doesn’t exist: it is the same as to say that man is not free, that God is monstrous, because He commits horrible crimes, without man being responsible for them; in that case, man couldn’t hope for eternal happiness, because he would act like an animal or a machine and he wouldn’t have any merit. Besides, the pain of the world wouldn’t have any justification at all -  when it is the deserved punishment or source of expiation or co-redemption for our sins – and it would make no sense that Christ had suffered His Passion, because there would be nothing to forgive nor anybody to be redeemed, for all men would be innocent. In short, this mistake is a hideous heresy:

God’s will, of which the elemental expression is in the Ten Commandments, is a will and a law of love: Indeed, whoever loves his brother will not kill him, nor steal from him, nor take his wife. The Ten Commandments are a yoke, but a sweet and smooth yoke, since to feel over us the pleased smile of the Father fills us with peace and happiness and to know that if we follow this way, some day we shall enjoy  infinite peace in Heaven make us already happy in our path through this world.

What the text of the sect says (besides opening the way to all worldly pleasures) is as old as the devil: it is the broad way  which leads to perdition and it is the opposite to the narrow way of the Evangels, which leads to salvation: It is what gentiles preached in old times: epicureans, etc.: enjoy the present, the grass is green, life is short, enjoy everything. It is what TV repeats all the time: “don’t repress yourself”: Enjoying life in such a way one falls ill with AIDS or one gets hooked on drugs.

The forgiveness of God, of Jesus, is another matter: He forgives the adulterous woman who is going to be lapidated but He says to her “Do not sin again”. He calls her to contrition. He doesn’t say she is innocent but he makes her understand that she has sinned and says to her “Don’t sin again”. And in another passage of the Evangel, Jesus says: “Enter through the narrow door, for the way that leads to perdition is broad”.

(Later on the paper of the sect reveals us where the root of this monstrous refusing of the existence of sin is, for it is said that “we are a part of God”: God is self-sufficient and has no parts; and we, who are called to the union with God, can separate from Him due to sin and separate for ever if we don’t repent. It is also said that “we have the same essence as God” (see before 3rd Objection (pantheism) to the existence of God and the corresponding refutation)) and that is affirming a crazy thing: for God by definition of His essence has no limits and we, men, are limited. God is infinitely good, while men are sometimes evil. God is almighty, while we can do just a few things: It is a pantheistic heresy: All is God, the sun is God, the cockroach is God, we ourselves are God, and so on. It is one of the most dangerous idolatries, because man ends up worshipping himself, making himself equal to God, imitating Satan and, therefore, man doesn’t admit to be a creature, he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness, he doesn’t look upon Him as infinitely higher (if a man kills another one would justify what he does as divine, it would be not a crime but a divine act through which God kills God)).

It is right to believe that one can reach a unity with God, it is wrong to think that we can have it automatically, as our own experience show us if we are sincere. The saints had God in their heart but they said that one can loose God: God’s love is unconditional in the sense that He always wants the best for us, He wants us to be saved, that we repent, He gives us the grace and chances to do it, He has created us through love, He does not enjoy the sinner’s dead, and so on…

Butit is not unconditionalin the sense that He doesn’t draw back His friendship if we commit sin. If we sin, He draws back His friendship (and to die without God’s friendship is equal to eternal damnation), although since He is infinitely merciful, he forgives us if, during our life, we ask for forgiveness from our heart.

Finally, let’s quote Nº 1432 of the Catechism:“Man’s heart is rough and hard. It is necessary that God gives him a new heart (cf. Ez 36, 26-27). Conversion is at first a task for the grace of God, which makes us return our hearts to Him: “Convert us, oh Lord, and we shall convert” (Lc 5, 21). God is who gives us the force to start again. When we discover the greatness of God’s love, our heart shudders before the horror and the weight of sin and it starts to fear offending God and be separated from Him by sin. The human heart converts looking at the One Who was pierced by our sins(cf Jn 19, 37; Za 12, 10).”