Enjoy yourself as much as you like—if only you keep from sin. —St. Don John Bosco

Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey―either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God. (Romans 6:16)

In Jewish and Christian Scriptures, there is a profound connection between sinfulness and death. Two passages from Genesis explain the origin of and connection between sin and death:

You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again. (Genesis 3:19)

Then the Lord God said, ‘Now these human beings have become like one of Us and have knowledge of what is good and what is bad. They must not be allowed to take fruit from the tree that gives life, eat it, and live forever.’ So, the Lord God sent them out of the Garden of Eden and made them cultivate the soil from which they had been formed. (Genesis 3:22-23)

Because of Adam's sin, we are all condemned to die. Because of his Fall, we lost our original holiness and justice. Jews and Christians refer to this as “Original Sin.” As Paul writes:

Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned. (Romans 5:12)

But just as death was our punishment, Christ is given to us as a reprieve of that punishment. Adam was a figure of the One Who was to come. (Romans 5:14) But this is not to say this evil and death were created by God. As scriptures tells us:

When God created us, He did not intend that we should die; He made us like Himself. It was the Devil's jealousy that brought death into the world, and those who belong to the Devil are the ones who will die. (Wisdom of Solomon 2:23-24)

Christ's Resurrection has ransomed us from the death we rightly deserve. As Paul describes:

But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised. For just as death came by means of a man, in the same way the rising from death comes by means of a man. For just as all people die because of their union with Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union with Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

Our sinfulness can become like an old, tattered and stained coat. More frequently than not, we are unaware we are wearing it but of which we become intimately aware when in the presence of others or when we first become introspectively aware of our own deplorable condition. None of us can escape the experience of suffering or the evils intrinsic to nature and, above all, to the question of moral evil. We are sinful, prideful, arrogant and narcissist creatures. As scriptures teaches us:

Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:15)

If not but for the grace of God, we would have no means by which to transcend our own limited and even dangerous natures. We would not even be able to recognize the illogic and foolishness of our acts let alone the moral imperative to behave like socially and personally responsible creatures. Left to our own devices, we could never pull ourselves out of our sinfulness. In fact, many people who do not recognize their own sinfulness or even the existence of sin, think it not only normal that we should act appallingly but that it is, in fact, our duty to do so. We often hear of people demanding the right to “think of themselves first” after all, “no one else is looking after them.” The moment we succumb to our selfishness, we have sinned. We can call it by a thousand other names, but narcissism and evil still exist. Modernists and secularists refuse to recognize the enormity of sin and chalk it up to a miscalculation, a developmental flaw, a chemical imbalance, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or worse, moral relativity or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure. If this were all true, then those who led a life in which all of their needs were adequately met wouldn't sin and yet, we see the opposite. People without any history of chemical imbalances in their brains or with impeccable moral upbringings share the same basic sinfulness. If anyone is without sin, they've yet to identify themselves. (1 John 1:5-2.2) The basic problem with this silly and illogical philosophy is that those who practice it become hypersensitive when those around them follow their advice. No one congratulates people for being narcissistic. It's amazing to think anyone hopes to do it with impunity while simultaneously castigating others for doing exactly the same.

Christ's reason for being born into this world was to give us hope and to overthrow evil's seductiveness. Christ, by His life, death and Resurrection, teaches us the Father's will and thus banish evil and death. Sin is the destroyer. It offers momentary pleasures and superficial vanities and it is by this sinfulness that we are condemned to death. Our failure to fully realize our humanity and our God as the moral standard of our lives makes us corrupt, selfish and egocentric. Original sin stands in opposition of Christ's Good News. Jesus is the Savior of Mankind and is intimately linked to our sinfulness. If it were not for our sinfulness, Christ would not have sacrificed Himself. It thus can be said that humanity's Fall was a boon for us as Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey points out in his spiritual treatise:

Redemption is a wondrous work ― God's masterpiece. By it, man disfigured by sin is remade. He is, in a sense, placed above his primordial state before the fall, so much so, that the Church in her liturgy does not hesitate to bless the fault that secured for us such a Redeemer as the God-man: ‘O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!’

The last line is mirrored in the Exsultet, or Easter Proclamation, of the Easter Vigil (i.e., “O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem.”) The Council of Trent specifically pointed out that our sinfulness is transmitted or propagated as a result of our human nature and not merely by imitating that which we see. If it were merely a matter of behaving well, then we would be able to find sinless human beings living among us any yet none can be found. Scriptures attest to the seeming explosion of sin after Adam's Fall that has lasted even to this day. The seductiveness of evil that appeals to our inherent, dark, insidious natures finds its origin in that first sin which earned expulsion from Eden. It is by the act of rejecting God that one becomes wicked just as Satan's demons fell first from God's grace. By accepting Christ through the sacrament of Baptism, we are promised eternal life and being once again becoming oriented toward God:

By our baptism, then, we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

Thus, sin is equated with death. Through Baptism, we are offered Christ's grace which destroys the stain of original sin in us and return us to the original state we enjoyed when the world was new. Despite this, our weakened, sinful natures with its inclinations to evil, persist in us. Once having accepted Christ in Baptism, we are dependent upon Him as a Source for continuing grace. By giving oneself over to God, that is, by living by His law, we are brought from death to new life:

Nor must you surrender any part of yourselves to sin to be used for wicked purposes. Instead, give yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes. (Romans 6:13)

Sin is then best understood as an abuse of the freedom that God gives us designed solely to love Him and each another. When we chose to ignore God and to love ourselves rather than others, we fall deeper into sin and thus abandon both God and our humanity. Like Adam before us, we are seduced by the prince of this world and offered the opportunity to “be like God” and thus do without Him. But by aligning ourselves with Him and accepting His Creatorship and His law of love, we can reclaim our status as sons and daughters of God and are no longer slaves to sin. (John 8:34, Romans 6:6)