What is sin?
At the core of sin is a rejection of God and the refusal to accept his love. This is manifested in a disregard for his commandments.
Sin is more than incorrect behavior; it is not just a psychological weakness. In the deepest sense every rejection or destruction of something good is the rejection of good in itself, the rejection of God. In its most profound and terrible dimension, sin is separation from God and, thus, separation from the source of life. That is why death is another consequence of sin. Only through Jesus do we understand the abysmal dimension of sin: Jesus suffered God’s rejection in his own flesh. He took upon himself the deadly power of sin so that it would not strike us. The term that we use for this is redemption.
Original sin? What does the Fall of Adam and Eve have to do with us?
Sin in the strict sense implies guilt for which one is personally responsible. Therefore the term “Original Sin” refers, not to a personal sin, but rather to the disastrous, fallen state of mankind into which the individual is born, even before he himself sins by a free decision.
In talking about Original Sin, Pope Benedict XVI says that we must understand “that we all carry within us a drop of the poison of that way of thinking, illustrated by the images in the Book of Genesis … . The human being does not trust God. Tempted by the serpent, he harbors the suspicion … that God is a rival who curtails our freedom and that we will be fully human only when we have cast him aside … . Man does not want to receive his existence and the fullness of his life from God … . And in doing so, he trusts in deceit rather than in truth and thereby sinks with his life into emptiness, into death” (Pope Benedict XVI, December 8, 2005).