Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Original Sin

  • Clodagh WeldonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_480

Original sin is the Christian doctrine which says that because of the sin of Adam and Eve, original innocence is lost and all subsequent human beings are born into a state of sinfulness. The doctrine states that human beings do not commit this sin but rather contract it from the Fall of Adam and Eve (CCC: 404). In other words, original sin is an inherited condition.

The doctrine of original sin was most famously formulated by North African theologian St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430) following his conversion to Christianity (Augustine, Confessions8:12). His theology was deeply influenced by Plato’s separation of the body and soul, a dualistic vision in which the pure and immutable soul is trapped in the prison house of a corruptible body. Upon his conversion to Christianity, Augustine renounced all pleasures of the flesh and, embracing the spiritual world, chose the celibate life. But he soon realized that the mind could not suppress the desires of the body and concluded from this...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dominican UniversityRiver ForestUSA