from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sin, symbolized by the serpent, is driven away through baptism. Baptismal font in St. Johann (Bremen)

Sin is a term with a religious connotation . In the Christian understanding it denotes the imperfect condition of the human being separated from God and his wrong way of life (ie the transgression of or falling out of the divine legal order). According to the biblical narrative ( GenEU ), this separation came about through the fall of man (through eating the fruit “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ”). According to Christian understanding, sin consists in turning away from God's will, in distrust of God, in allowing evil or in being seduced. For Paul , sin appears as a power that determines life and coexistence and makes people slaves to their passions, to which they are accordingly delivered ( Rom. 6 : 12-14  EU ).

The term sin also denotes the single reprehensible and therefore sinful act (wrongdoing) that begins with the evil thought ( Mt 15:19  EU ). Thought and factual sins result from the separation caused by unbelief (ie, the basic sin). According to the biblical understanding, bad words, hurtful or untrue utterances are to be counted among the factual sins. Sin can also be seen as the opposite of moral responsibility or the cause of psychological misconduct.

Ultimately, according to the Christian faith, remaining-in-sin leads to condemnation in the so-called Last Judgment of God, to two different fates for believers and unbelievers: believers go to heaven , unbelievers to hell ( Dan 12.2  EU , Mt 25.46  EU ).

An offense is considered reprehensible or bad because God marks it as sin, e.g. B. through the Ten Commandments . Sins directly or indirectly harm other people and the sinner himself. Thus the sinner is guilty not only of the transgression itself, but also of its consequences. In Judaism was in Jerusalem to the destruction of the Second Temple by the offering of sacrifices to blame expiated , that is covered. In Islam, however, the animal sacrifice has lost its meaning of atonement (see below, cf. the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice ). In Christianity , Jesus Christ is the sacrificial lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world ( Joh 1.29  EU , Joh 1.36  EU , Rev 1.5  EU ), so animal sacrifices are no longer necessary. Closely connected with the forgiveness of sin are the confession and repentance of the same as well as repentance as a turning away from bad attitudes and wrongdoing. Through this repentance and because of the saving act of Jesus Christ on the cross , people experience forgiveness.

In other religions, forgiveness is achieved through the approval of the deity (s) (merit, self-redemption). In Hinduism and other Vedic religions, sin refers to actions that affect karma .

Colloquially, “sin” is often understood to be an act that is viewed as wrong without a theological statement being implied. The term comes across in a trivialized form when violating diet regulations (“sin against the line”), clothing fashion aesthetic ideas (“fashion sin”) or against traffic rules (“parking offenders”).


The Greek expression ἁμαρτία ( hamartia ) of the New Testament and the Hebrew word chata'a or chat'at (חַטָּאָה / חַטָּ֣את) of the Tanach mean missing a goal - concretely and figuratively, i.e. failure - and are rendered as sin in German Bible translations .

The German word Sünde has a common root with words from other Germanic languages (English sin , Old English synn , Old Norwegian synd ). The origin is not exactly clear. Possibly the word goes back to the Indo-European root * es- , the participle of the verb sein , meaning being in the sense of "the one (who it was) being". Sin was first used as a Christian term in German .

A folk etymological interpretation leads it back to the Germanic sund , because sund denotes a separation of two land masses (by a strait). However, this is countered by the fact that Sund, on the contrary, describes a narrow, i.e. a connection, for example a strait. According to another explanation, the word can be derived from the Old Norse verb sundr . It means “to separate” or “to divide” (cf. German “(from) but”, today's Scandinavian sondre and Swedish sönder “broken”). A sound would then be a land division or a rift.


In Judaism , breaking a law of God is a sin. The laws are the commandments of the Torah , other regulations in the Tanakh and the interpretations compiled in the Talmud . According to the Jewish understanding, everyone commits sins in the course of his life. God compensates for the appropriate punishment through grace. Prayer, sincere repentance and conversion ( Jonah 3: 5–10  EU ), ( Dan 4: 27  EU ) and the giving of alms are central elements of atonement.

The common Hebrew word for sin is aveira . According to the interpretation of the Tanakh, three forms of sin are distinguished:

  • Pesha or Mered : Sin intentionally committed, in conscious rebellion against God.
  • Avon : Sin committed emotionally, consciously but not in rebellion against God.
  • Chet : Unintentional sin

According to Jewish teaching, no person is perfect and all people sin. These actions, however, do not result in permanent condemnation; few sins are unforgivable. According to the Babylonian Talmud , God's grace is summarized in thirteen attributes:

  1. God is gracious even before man sins, even though he knows that man is capable of sin.
  2. God is gracious to the sinner after he has sinned.
  3. God can even be gracious where a person cannot or deserve it.
  4. God is compassionate and eases punishment for the guilty.
  5. God is gracious even to those who do not deserve it.
  6. God is not easily brought into anger.
  7. God's kindness is manifold.
  8. God is a God of truth; therefore his promise to forgive the confessing sinner is valid.
  9. God is kind to future generations, just as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were kind.
  10. God deliberately forgives sins committed when the sinner repents.
  11. God forgives conscious angering of himself when the sinner repents.
  12. God forgives sins committed in error.
    Model of the “tabernacle” with a burnt offering altar in front of the tent; Timnapark, Israel
  13. God forgets the sins of those who repent.

Jews should apply these principles in their dealings with others.

According to the Jewish Bible, the " tabernacle " and later the Jerusalem temple were places where the Hebrews and the Israelites could make sacrifices after they repented of their sins before God (Hebrew: tilted ). Some sins also required a confession to God. Priests performed the rituals laid down in the Torah (chanting, prayer, offerings ). The holiday of Yom Kippur is a special day when all of the Jewish people come together for the forgiveness of their sins.

In the later books of the prophets, rituals are rejected without real repentance and the necessary inner attitude of the supplicants to repentance and conversion is reminded again.


Background, terminology

The concept of sin, and in particular its overcoming, is central to Christianity. Sin here denotes the man-made state of separation from God and also individual culpable transgressions against God's commandments that result from this state. (See below for confessional differences.)

In the case of sin, which can also be accompanied by guilt (supposedly sometimes also with earthly punishment), a distinction is made between the terms debitum ( Latin guilt) and culpa (misconduct) and hamartia ( Greek ἁμαρτία ). While culpa refers to guilty of deed or omission, i.e. a specific interpersonal misconduct, debitum means guilt as a basic phenomenon in human existence, seen in this way an existential guilt that precedes action . Hamartia originally means “not hitting a target” and its religious meaning can be described as a failure to love God, people and self.

The doctrine of sin is called hamartiology (also, not quite correctly, "hamartology"). In the classical theological structure of thought, hamartiology is part of anthropology (anthropology, in turn, is part of creation doctrine, creation doctrine is part of dogmatics , dogmatics is part of theology). Basically, according to Christian theology, everyone is sinful. However, Jesus of Nazareth was not born in a state of sin and did not sin.

The Christian view of sin draws its most important statements from Old and New Testament texts and in this respect differs in part from Jewish theology.

The Christian concept of sin

Sin is often addressed in the New Testament in the context of the forgiveness of sins. According to this, sin destroys man's trusting relationship with God, which he wants. The many individual sins (sinful acts) are seen as symptoms or consequences of the one sin that exists in life without a relationship with God. Sin in the Christian sense is always at the same time a wrongdoing against God - becoming sinful towards fellow human beings as God's creatures is implicitly directed against their creator. An example is given by the parable of the prodigal son ( Lk 15 : 11–32  EU ), in which the son actually only makes mistakes in interpersonal relationships, but then comes to the realization: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you" ( Lk 15.18  EU ).

In the New Testament understanding, no human being is naturally free from sin: "When we say that we have no sin, we are leading ourselves astray, and the truth is not in us" ( 1 Jn 1:EU ). Sins tend to give rise to other sins. Man has no chance to become sinless on his own.

Concrete sins that are mentioned in the New Testament are: desecration of the temple ( Mk 11.15–18  EU ), hypocrisy ( Matt 23.1–36  EU ), greed ( Lk 12.15  EU ), blasphemy ( Matt 12, 22-37  EU ), adultery ( Mt 5.27-32  EU ), boasting ( Mt 6.1-18  EU ). Lists of sins appear in several places in the New Testament: in the Acts of the Apostles, in the letters of Paul and in the Revelation of John. A special form of sin is sin against the Holy Spirit , which according to the New Testament is not forgiven.

In the Gospels and Paul's letters it is assumed that every person is sinful. One can distinguish between the following concepts of sin:

Mark and Luke

In the oldest Gospel according to Mark and the Gospel according to Luke , sins stand for concrete, individual ethical and moral misconduct. Sin is set in opposition to Jesus Christ, who came to redeem his people from their sins ( Mk 1,21  EU ; Lk 5,32  EU ). This divides humanity into righteous and sinners, with Jesus specifically coming to the latter.


In the Gospel according to John , the unbelief of the world ( Jn 16.9  EU ), bondage, childhood with the devil, spiritual blindness, self-love and hate are also referred to as sin . The consequence of sin is similar to that of Paul's death. The John concept takes the metaphor of a legal dispute between the revelator and the still unbelieving world, from which Christ emerges as justified and the world is convicted of its sins. The Paraclete , identified with the Holy Spirit , takes on the role of the accuser and judge of the sinful world in the post-Easter period.


For Paul in the Pauline letters , sin has a structural dimension in addition to the individual, which can, however, be broken open by God (Gal 3:22). While Mark and Luke often speak of sins in their Gospels, i.e. in the plural , Paul speaks of sin in the singular . For him, sin becomes a fatal power that precedes every human existence. So man will always find himself in the realm of sin and death and is thus entangled in an unholy situation that he has not caused. In being a member of humanity, the power of sin affects him. Nevertheless, this form of sin is not only fatal, but also an act for which one must answer (Rom 14:23).

Biblical view

The fall of Adam and Eve

Sin is the man-made reason for the spiritual separation from God, which God does not want ( Is 59.1  EU ). This separation from God is also referred to as “walking in the darkness” ( Acts 26.17f  EU ). Sin causes death. This does not only mean the current separation, but the eternal separation from God ( Rom 6:23  EU ). Conversely, the forgiveness of sin means eternal life . Sin not only disturbs the relationship with God, but also with our fellow human beings ( Lk 15.21  EU ). Mainly, however, sin turns against God ( Ps 51.6  EU ).

The Bible equates sin with lawlessness ( 1 John 3, 4  EU ) or with injustice ( 1 John 5:17  EU ). Hence the connection between sin and breaking the law. Sin is recognized through God's law ( Rom. 3:20  EU ). Since every person violates God's law at least once in his life, every person is a sinner of his own accord ( Rom 3:23  EU ).

The attribution of transgressions presupposes knowledge ( Rom 5,13  EU , Rom 1,20  EU , Rom 2,12–15  EU ) and validity ( Rom 6,14  EU ) of the law. Man is not saved by his own strength, but through God's grace ( Eph 2,8f  EU ).

Knowledge of sin

The commandments of God (in the first place the Ten Commandments ) make sin and sins recognizable, namely as a standard ( Rom 7,7-13  EU ). This is used in confessional mirrors , such as preparing for confession by looking at a list of the Ten Commandments of possible violations.

Instead of focusing on possible sins, an encounter with God is sometimes recommended. This explains the Baptist creed:

In the encounter with Jesus Christ we experience the evil in us and in social structures as a sin against God.

Most people find it difficult to self-critically recognize that they are affected by sin. Such knowledge is easier in relation to humanity as a whole, as a collective. Here sin can be recognized by the lack of openness to listen to God, by dramatic atrocities and by unjust social structures. Without assigning certain sins individually (which is often opposed to the complex reality), the individual can see himself as a jointly responsible part of the sin-entangled collective.

Eastern Church

The Orthodox Church particularly emphasizes the effect of sin on relationships between man and God, as well as the interpersonal consequences. Hence, at salvation, there is an emphasis on reconciliation and renewed relationship.

Roman Catholic Church

Oil painting of the seven deadly sins by Hieronymus Bosch (1485)

Western churches ( Catholic churches , Protestant churches ) tend to see the legal aspect, which then also plays a role in redemption. The Roman Catholic Church understands sin only to be the act itself, while the churches of the Reformation describe human nature itself as sinful (cf. quote from Martin Luther ).

In the Roman Catholic Church, moral theology deals with the doctrine of sin. These are concepts of Christian theology that come from the moral theological and catechetical tradition .

The Roman Catholic Church has a conceptually elaborated teaching on sin and the sacrament of penance .

According to Roman Catholic teaching, original sin ( Latin peccatum originale or peccatum hereditarium ) impaired the original perfection of man, but did not completely erase it. Through baptism the original sin, but not the tendency to sin, the so-called concupiscence, is completely eliminated and does not result in any further guilt. Therefore, the fallen person strives of his own accord to seek God's forgiveness and redemption. Methodist and Wesleyan churches , which belong to the Protestant churches, share this view.

Sins can be divided into visible acts - such as manslaughter or theft -, attitudes - such as envy or greed, which can lead to further sins, so-called root sins - and sins of omission ( Jak 4,17  EU ). Sins committed voluntarily and with full knowledge that it is a sin outweigh venial sins.

The Catholic doctrine differentiates between deadly sins (( Latin peccatum mortiferum or Latin mortale) that means serious sins) and venial sins ( Latin peccata venialia ). The deliberate extinction of the life of a fellow human being is considered a sin that screams to heaven (Latin peccatum clamans ).

In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, fellow Christians of the sinner also have a responsibility, especially in the case of serious sins: The Catholic adult catechism calls the "duty of fraternal correction "; this is seen in the Christian tradition as a work of mercy and makes reference to the Holy Scriptures ( Mt 18 : 15-17  EU , 1 Tim 5 :EU , Gal 2 : 11-14  EU ).

Protestant churches

The effects of original sin are viewed differently in many Reformation churches. Calvinism formulated this most succinctly , but Lutheran churches also have similar provisions in some cases . According to this, man is trapped by original sin in a state of "total depravity" - that is, of complete turning away from God, i.e. H. the fixation on oneself and the world. This can only be broken through God's initiative and grace (sola gratia) . The faith thus bestowed ( sola fide ) keep people in a state of grace.

Acquitted of sin

The question of who is acquitted of sin and how this is done is viewed differently within Christian churches. However, some similarities can be identified.

In the foreground is the grace that is given to man without his involvement: the so-called righteousness of the sinner or justification. It is controversial to what extent man can turn to God on his own. In any case, in the state of grace, man recognizes that God in Jesus Christ as the Savior forgives sin (s). The sacraments of baptism and the (not uniformly understood) communion are important for liberation from sin : baptism for acceptance into the community of faith (“body of Christ”), and communion as the forgiveness of sins repeatedly promised by God.

The Christian is absolved of sins through the pastoral act of forgiveness of sins, and at the same time the grace of God is awarded to him; In the course of Christian history, the formal process of confession ( confession ) before a priest and possibly the penance imposed by him developed . Today, however, there are individual differences in this regard:

  • In the Roman Catholic Church there is the sacrament of penance , in which sins are confessed to a priest , through whom Jesus Christ forgives them. In addition, the priest can do penance exercises.
  • According to the understanding of the Orthodox Church, sins are confessed directly to Jesus Christ in the presence of a priest, who is usually represented by an icon . The priest then recommends some penal exercises, after which he will absolve the sinner from sins in the name of God.
  • In almost all Protestant and Anglican churches there is usually a common confession of sins at every Lord's Supper with the approval of forgiveness by the pastor.
  • A sacrament of confession as in the Roman Catholic Church does not exist in the Protestant churches. It is based on the assumption that during his life the Christian is in a transition from being a sinner to being righteous; that is why the forgiveness of sins, which is repeatedly promised, is necessary. So it is awarded either in the context of the Lord's Supper or in speaking the creed itself. This also happens in baptism. In addition, it is the task of the pastor delegated by the community to promise forgiveness in pastoral situations. This can also be done by a fellow Christian (who does not have to be a clergyman). The key to this is the idea of ​​the priesthood of all believers .

See also: indulgence


Atonement is the process by which the sinner is reconciled to God. This originally Jewish teaching became a central teaching in Christian theology . Sin is canceled by atonement; According to Christian teaching, this redemption happened “in, with and under” the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ . In the course of history there have been different approaches to grasp the meaning of this fact, which is so central in Christianity.

The New Testament is based on the similarity with the Jewish animal sacrifice (atonement) in the Tanakh , which carries away sins.

The questions about the meaning of death and the reason for having to die have been answered in the course of history as follows:

  • Origen taught that the death of Christ was a price paid to Satan to meet his justified demand for the souls of sinful people.
  • Irenaeus of Lyons taught that Christ absorbed all sins within himself and thus compensated for the original sin resulting from Adam's disobedience.
  • Athanasius of Alexandria taught that Christ came to defeat death and corruption and to restore humanity to God's image.
  • Gregory of Nazianz taught that the death of Christ was a highly voluntary sacrifice of the self-divine Christ to God, however not to satisfy his anger or to reconcile him with humanity, but conversely to reconcile people with God.
  • Anselm of Canterbury taught that Christ's death satisfied God's sense of justice. This teaching is developed in Anselm's Cur deus homo .
  • Peter Abelard saw Christ's passion (Passion) as God's suffering with his creation, through which he showed his love.
  • John Calvin taught that Christ, the only person without sin, willingly took upon himself the punishment of all human sin and has vicariously atoned for it.
  • Karl Barth saw the death of Christ as a sign of God's love and his hatred of sin.

These views can be grouped (with restrictions) as follows:

  • Substitute : God in Christ took the punishment for the sins of mankind so that believers could escape punishment.
  • Example : The death of Christ shows the Christian what it means to submit to the will of God; this shows the way to eternal life.
  • Revelation : Christ's death reveals to Christians the nature and love of God and shows the promised resurrection.
  • Victory : The death of Christ conquered death and gives eternal life to the dead.

A complete understanding of the Christian concept of atonement requires a combination of these points.

See also: Atonement (Christianity)

Deliverance from sin

Getting rid of sin concerns, first, being acquitted so that sin is no longer counted. Second, it can mean that the sinful act is no longer committed, or at least the tendency to do so becomes weaker (“victory over sin”). This is an important concern of pastoral care. Some tendencies are actually experienced as bonds or compulsions: Man commits this sin, although he does not wish to commit it anymore. Losing habits is a process that sometimes takes a long time.

original sin

The Christian concept of original sin describes a supra-individual - for the individual from birth - existing state of sin, which is irreversible and can only be removed by the grace of God (evangelical), or the inclination to sin, which is updated and acted on by the individual thereby is affirmed as long as grace does not come to his aid (catholic).

Islamic point of view

In Islam, man is constantly tempted to commit sins. These consist in violating God's will or his creation.

Islam understands sin as disobedience to God, his commission or his law. Sin is the "deliberate transgression of the divine norm" ( Smail Balić ) in thoughts, words and deeds.

The Koran describes the first sin of the first humans (Adam and Eve) as the result of being misled by Satan (2: 36–38). However, Islam rejects the idea that the sin of these two was passed on to their descendants. In this reference, the Koran refers to God's mercy and his power to forgive, thus relieving people of so-called "original sin" and its consequences. A person is born pure and will remain pure until he sinned against God of his own will. Only then does Islam speak of a sin. Sins cannot be bequeathed to pure people; Pure people, out of God's righteousness alone, should not be held responsible for the sins of other people.


A distinction is made between three groups, namely slight wrongdoing (such as sinful thoughts), serious moral sins and the mortal sin "unbelief". Unbelief itself can also have three forms: non-recognition of God (arab. Kufr ), 2. polytheism (arab. Schirk ), 3. apostasy (arab. Irtidad ). This distinction is based on the statement “Those who avoid the grave sins and the shameful deeds, apart from slight wrongdoing, [may hope for forgiveness]. Verily, your Lord has abundant forgiveness ”(Quran 53:32; cf. also 42:37; 4:31). Regarding unbelief it is said: "See, those who believe and afterwards disbelieve, then believe again and then increase in disbelief, Allah does not forgive them and He does not guide them on the way." ( Sura 4 : 137 according to Max Henning; cf. . also sura 41:27 ).

However, theology disagrees on the number of shameful sins. Mohammed is said to have named after Stieglecker :

  1. Polytheism and idolatry ( schirk )
  2. Rebellion against parents
  3. Killing a man
  4. perjury
  5. magic
  6. Neglect of compulsory prayer
  7. Neglecting community prayers without an apology (applies to men)
  8. Neglecting Friday prayer (applies to men)
  9. Don't pay zakat
  10. Don't fast on Ramadan for no reason
  11. Do not do the Hajj , although you could and the requirements are or can be fulfilled
  12. Neglect of relatives
  13. Zina (extramarital intercourse)
  14. Homosexuality and imitating the opposite sex (transvestism)
  15. Prostitution and pimping
  16. Take and give interest
  17. Misappropriation of orphan's property
  18. Lies in the name of Allah or His Messenger
  19. Haughtiness and arrogance
  20. Intoxicants (alcoholic beverages and drugs)
  21. Theft and robbery
  22. Injustice and Judgment
  23. Extortion of protection money
  24. Frequent lying
  25. Bribe (take and give)
  26. Marry a woman and divorce her again so that she can marry her former ex-husband again (Arabic: Muhalil and Muhalalu-lah).
  27. Not cleaning the excretory organs after urinating or after relieving themselves
  28. Riyaa (little shirk): The display of good deeds and acts of worship with the intention of not primarily following ALLAH's commandments, but rather to make a good impression on people.
  29. Hiding knowledge
  30. Treason
  31. Make reproaches
  32. The mutual spying on and spying on
  33. Spreading talk, gossip, gossip and rumors and talking a lot of senseless things
  34. Curse
  35. Failure to comply with concluded contracts
  36. Belief in the testimony of astrologers (horoscopes) and fortune tellers
  37. Arrogance and disrespect for the spouse (this applies to women and men)
  38. sculpture
  39. Exaggerated emotional outbursts in deaths (tearing clothes, tearing hair, loud crying and complaining, etc.)
  40. Oppression of the weak
  41. Harassing the neighbor
  42. Harming and insulting people, especially Muslims
  43. Wearing silk and gold for men
  44. The slaughter of cattle invoking another name instead of the name of Allah
  45. Pretending to be of false parentage
  46. Withholding drinking water
  47. Cheating while measuring and weighing
  48. Damage to heirs by the will
  49. Deceit and greed
  50. The anger in the wrong
  51. envy
  52. hypocrisy
  53. Despising the poor and the weak and respecting the rich for their wealth
  54. The hoarding of wealth and avarice
  55. The embezzlement of funds and the like

Unbelief (kufr) is the greatest sin and forfeits the salvation of the person concerned, it does not get to paradise .

Al-Ghazzali valuation approach

Al-Ghazzali (1059–1111) assessed the severity of sins according to the following scheme: a) Does it concern God? b) Does it affect people? c) Does it concern essential resources? Sins against God and revelation were the most serious for him, as they prevented entry into paradise. This was followed by crimes against fellow human beings such as murder, manslaughter, mutilation , use of force, homosexuality or adultery . The third section contained property crimes, “appropriation of the orphans' property by the appointed guardian”, “robbing fellow human beings with the help of false testimony” and “appropriating other people's property by means of an oath of concealment” (H. Stieglecker).

original sin

Islam knows no original sin. Although the Koran (7: 19–25; 2: 35–39; 20: 117–124) reminds of the fall of man and the expulsion from paradise ( Gen 3, 1–24  EU ), it does not take on the Pauline doctrine of original sin ( RomLUT ). Consequently, Islam does not know any theology of salvation.

Sins are accumulated on earth by man himself. This self-indebtedness also gives rise to personal responsibility for what each individual is doing and not doing.

Forgiveness of sins

In many places the Koran praises God's mercy and willingness to forgive (e.g. Sura 2: God forgives “whoever he wills” (eg: Sura 2: 285; 3: 129). However, unbelief in its various forms is considered unforgivable.

These include polytheism and idolatry (4: 48.116), apostasy (4: 137; cf. 16: 106f; 2: 217; 3.86–91), merely pretending to believe (63: 3) and a life of unbelief up to to death (47:34; 4:18). God will not forgive people who have committed these sins (cf. 9:80; 63: 6), even if Muhammad interceded (shafa'a) for them.

All other sins can in principle be forgiven as long as true faith (cf. 20:73; 26:51; 46:31) and the focus on the life of Muhammad are given: “Say: 'If you love God, then follow me, so will God love you and forgive you your sins. And God is forgiving and merciful. '”(3:31) On this premise, forgiveness of even serious sins is possible through repentance and penance (42:25; 4:17). Therefore, the Koran calls for repentance and penance (e.g .: 24:31; 66: 8; 5:74) in order to reconcile God (e.g .: 5:39; 25:71). Those who seek forgiveness will be forgiven (3: 135–136). Meanwhile, the Muslim can eradicate minor offenses by conscientiously fulfilling religious duties.


"I Jesus Christ tell you, there will also be joy in heaven over a sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance!"

- Luke 15 : 7; quoted according to the butcher's bible

“For it is certainly true that no man ever sees his true main sins, but there is unbelief, contempt for God, that he does not fear God, trust him and love him as it should be, and such sin of heart because the right knot are inside. "

- Martin Luther : The beautiful Confitemini in the number of the 118th Psalm (1530)

“I don't need comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real dangers and freedom and virtue. I want sin! "

Youthful sin

In the German-speaking world, “youthful sin” or “youthful folly ” generally refers to an ill-considered act or folly that someone committed at a young age. As an exaggerated and often joking term, the term applies to a creation at a young age or at the beginning of a profession with which the person concerned can no longer identify himself later.

The analogous use - for example "the sin of youth" or "the sin of my youth" - can already be found in the middle of the 17th century. At the beginning to the middle of the 18th century the spelling took place and towards the end of the 18th century "youth sin (s)" had established itself as a term.

In the legal sense, the sin of youth is a misconduct that is assessed as less serious due to the age or the stage of development of the person performing it. In contrast to sin, however, there is generally no religious judgment of the act. A distinction can be made here

  • Actions in which others are only slightly harmed (e.g. pranks ) and which, if they are at all criminally relevant, fall under juvenile criminal law .
  • Beliefs or activities that were accepted in the actor's previous context but are embarrassing in retrospect. This includes, for example, fashion trends, convictions or participation in films. In addition to the time interval, the decisive factor here is that the actor's environment has fundamentally changed.

See also

Wikiquote: Sin  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Sin  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Duden: The Origin dictionary , keywords special and but . Also Meinolf Schumacher : Sunde kompt von sundern. Etymological to sin. In: Journal for German Philology. 110, 1991, pp. 61-67 ( digitized version ).
  2. ^ Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary for the Old Testament, Berlin / New York 1971, p. 126
  3. ^ Johann Maier : Atonement and forgiveness in the Jewish liturgy . In: Jahrbuch für Biblische Theologie , Vol. 9 (1994), pp. 145–171.
  4. Wolf von Siebenthal: Illness as a consequence of sin: A medical historical investigation. (Medical dissertation Bonn) Schmorl & von Seefeld, Hannover 1950 (= Medicine and Spiritual World. Volume 2).
  5. Udo Schnelle: Theology of the New Testament Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 3-825-2-4727-9 , p. 364 f.
  6. Udo Schnelle: Theology of the New Testament Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 3-825-2-4727-9 , p. 194 f.
  7. Mirjam Zimmermann: Sin / Guilt. Created: February 2016, [1]
  8. In the account of faith , last 1995, part 1, chap. 2.
  9. ^ Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : Basis preach. Basics of the Christian faith in sermons, plus a didactic homiletics for advanced students. VTR, Nuremberg 2010, pp. 84-91.
  10. see Catechism of the Catholic Church , Article Sin, paragraphs 1846–1876 and section The Ten Commandments , paragraphs 2052–2557
  11. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation , paragraphs 1420–1498
  12. Adult Catholic Catechism, Chapter Sin and Repentance
  13. Martin Luther: incurvatus in se ipsum , W [eimarer] A [edition] vol. 56, p. 256, line 5
  14. ^ Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer: Basis preach. Basics of the Christian faith in sermons, plus a didactic homiletics for advanced students. VTR, Nuremberg 2010, pp. 92–100: “What captivates my thinking - and acting? The 'works of the flesh' (after Gal 5: 19-21). "
  15. Speyer (1961), pp. 71f
  16. Martin Luther : The beautiful Confitemini in the number of the 118th Psalm (1530), in: Kurt Aland (Hrsg.): Luther deutsch. The works of Martin Luther in a new selection for the present, 4th ed. Göttingen 1991, Volume 7 “The Christ in the World”, pp. 308 - 415, corresponds to pages 4916 - 5008 (4970) of Kurt Aland's CD-ROM : Martin Luther. Collected works, Berlin 2002
  17. Duden: The sin of youth
  18. Georg Vischer: Bona fama or Practica deß Symboli omnia si perdas, famam servare memento (etc.) 1646, p. 27.
  19. J. Falck: Complete song book: in which not only the usual old church eyelids, but also many new, useful chants to be found in various cases . Stars, 1661, p. 165.
  20. Johann Caspar Wetzel: Hymnopoeographia, or Historical life Description of the most famous songs Poet: 3 . Roth-Scholtz, 1724, p. 234.
  21. Johann Joachim Schwabe: Amusements of the mind and wit . BC Breitkopf, 1742, p. 458.
  22. Selected library of the latest German literature . Meyer, 1780, p. 498.
  23. NGRAM Viewer: youthful indiscretion, Jugendsünden


Religious studies

  • Harold G. Coward: Sin and Salvation in the World Religions. A short introduction . Oneworld, Oxford 2003; ISBN 1-85168-319-4 .
  • Gustav Mensching : The idea of ​​sin. Your development in the high religions of the Orient and Occident . Leipzig 1931 (a classic in religious studies)
  • Bernhard Mensen (Ed.): Guilt and Reconciliation in Different Religions . Steyler, Nettetal 1986; ISBN 3-87787-210-7 .


  • Jonathan Klawans: Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism . University Press, Oxford 2004; ISBN 0-19-517765-7 .
  • Pinchas Lapide : From Cain to Judas. Unfamiliar insights into sin and guilt . Gütersloh 1994, ISBN 3-579-01439-0 (Gütersloh paperback books 1439).


  • Dorothea Sitzler-Osing, Rolf P. Knierim, Stefan Schreiner u. a .: Art. Sin I. Religious history II. Old Testament III. Judaism IV. New Testament V. Old Church VI. Middle Ages VII. Reformation times and modern times VIII. Practical-theological. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie 32 (2001), pp. 360–442 (comprehensive overview).
  • Guilt and forgiveness. Festschrift for Michael Beintker on his 70th birthday, ed. by Hans-Peter Großhans, Herman J. Selderhuis, Alexander Dölecke and Matthias Schleiff, Tübingen 2017 .


  • Georg Fischer, Knut Backhaus: Atonement and Reconciliation. Perspectives of the Old and New Testaments. Echter, Würzburg 2000, ISBN 3-429-02173-1 .
  • Robert Koch: Sin in the Old Testament. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-631-44657-8 .
  • Hubert Frankemölle (ed.): Sin and redemption in the New Testament (= Quaestiones Disputatae 161). Herder, Freiburg i. Br. 1996, ISBN 3-451-02161-7 (conference contributions).
  • Sin and Judgment (= Yearbook for Biblical Theology , Vol. 9), with contributions by Michael Beintker u. a. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1994, ISBN 3-7887-1500-6 .

History of dogma, moral theology, social ethics and psychology

  • Sigrid Brandt and a .: sin. A topic that has become incomprehensible. Neukirchener, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1997, ISBN 3-7887-1568-5 .
  • Thorsten Dietz : Sin. What separates people from God today. SCM, Witten 2016 (critically discussed in the AfeT reviews ).
  • Ralf Dziewas: The sin of people and the sinfulness of social systems. Reflections on the conditions and possibilities of theological speech about sin from a social theological perspective. Lit, Münster 1995, ISBN 3-8258-2352-0 .
  • Christof Gestrich : The return of shine in the world. The Christian doctrine of sin and its forgiveness in present responsibility. 2nd edition Tübingen 1995.
  • Hanns-Stephan Haas: "Well-known sin". A systematic study of the theological talk of sin in the present. Neukirchener, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1992, ISBN 3-7887-1409-3 (Neukirchener contributions to systematic theology 10).
  • Ted Peters: Sin. Radical Evil in Soul and Society. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids 1994, ISBN 0-8028-3764-6 .
  • Josef Pieper : About the concept of sin. Kösel, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-466-40161-5 .
  • Gerhard Schulze : Sin. The beautiful life and its enemies. Hanser, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-446-20672-8 .
  • Meinolf Schumacher : Sin filth and purity of heart. Studies of the imagery of sin in Latin and German literature of the Middle Ages. Fink, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-7705-3127-2 (Münstersche Mittelalter-Schriften 73) ( digitized version ).
  • Special issue of the journal Lebendige Seelsorge (1/2007): Sin - Guilt - Forgiveness , ISSN  0343-4591 (also available online ( Memento from September 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive )).


  • Article sin ; in: Lexicon of Islam; P. 699ff
  • Hermann Stieglecker: The doctrines of Islam . Schöningh, Paderborn 1962, pp. 625-656
  • Ludwig Hagemann : Moral norms and their foundation in Islam . Publishing house for Christian-Islamic literature, Altenberge 1982
  • Heinrich Speyer: The biblical stories in the Qoran . Georg Olms, Hildesheim 1961 2
  • Arent Jan Wensinck : Art. Khati'a . In: Concise Dictionary of Islam . Brill, Leiden 1976, pp. 307-310

Web links

Commons : Sins  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Sin  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations