Let’s start with some definitions.
An act that is forbidden and punishable by law.
An act, statement, attitude, behaviour or thought that is against the divine law (against the Will of God).
- original sin
A sin committed by humanity in general.
Jews and Christians illustrate it in the story of Adam and Eve in Eden where they disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Theologians have characterized it in many ways, ranging from “a slight deficiency”, or a “tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt”, referred to as a “sin nature”, to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt of all humans through “collective guilt”. (via Wikipedia)
- personal sin
The fact of being responsible for a crime.
The word sin is sometimes mixed up with the notion of guilt. But they are not the same because you can commit a sin without knowing it, or you can know about your sin without finding a way to change it.
Only God knows whether a concrete act, statement, attitude, behaviour or thought is a sin or not.
But in our desire to avoid sins, we try to define rules for recognizing them. Some examples:
A sin is when you hurt one or many other humans.
A sin is to turn the mirror of one’s heart away from God.
We differentiate between individual sins (committed by a single person) and collective sins (committed by a group of persons).
Which aspect triggers the reaction of others (behaviour, statements, attitude, …)
Which law is being offended (human? moral? natural? divine? …)
Who suffers (only the sinner? somebody else? many others? …)
How severe the problem is
How much personal responsibility the sinner has.
Christians and sin¶
I believe that Jesus was born by a divine plan in order to redeem us from the original sin and to liberate us from our fears of God’s revenge for our sins.
It seems that this formulation fundamentally differs from evangelical Christian interpretations.