Sin

According to Christian belief, sin separates humans from God, bringing lasting punishment and preventing salvation. God gave humans free will so it is up to each person to decide for themselves whether to do good or evil. Only God can solve the problem of humans often choosing to sin. To do this, he offered salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Original Sin

Genesis 3 tells the story of how sin first entered the world when Adam and Eve were tempted by the Devil in the Garden of Eden. They ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge after God had instructed them not to, and as a result they were banished. Evil had now entered the world - this is known as the Fall. The sinfulness of Adam and Eve caused a separation from God that could have resulted in humanity’s eternal punishment.

Some Christians believe that all humans are descendants of Adam and Eve. If this is true, then all humans are connected to this first act of disobedience against God, known as Original Sin. Many Christians believe that every person is born with an inherited trace of Original Sin, which means that everyone has the ability, or even an urge, to disobey God.

Christianity teaches that God has given humanity the opportunity for salvation from sin through the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God. The idea of sacrificing an animal or sending it out into the wilderness to make up for the sin of humans is unfamiliar to us today. However, at the time of Jesus, it was well understood as an important part of religious practice.

For Christians, Jesus’ sacrifice means that, through faith and good works, human souls can be saved from eternal punishment (or separation from God). They are able to enter Heaven (where they will be in the presence of God).

A flowchart to explain the Christian concept of salvation through Jesus.

Christians believe that this process shows that God is omnibenevolent and forgiving as he gave his only son to save humanity.

Question

According to Christian belief, what separates people from God?

Sin. Humans have free will and can choose to do things that go against God’s will. These actions are called ‘sin’.