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Discussion 2 to the 2nd Commandment
A Response to:
The Second Commandment: Is God a Sinner?

by John Tyrrell

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Brad:

You do raise an interesting point which addresses the whole issue of why some people turn away from God and from religion. And that is that no religion's god appears to live up to the high ideals that god sets for us. If you consider the purported acts of the various gods over the ages, and the real acts committed by each god's followers in his or her name, we see evil rather than good.

Gods all seem to preach "Do as I say, not as I do." And we are turned off by their hypocrisy.

As to the specific point you raise with respect to envy / jealousy and mortal sin:

I think you may be confusing "mortal sin" with the "Seven Deadly Sins," the current version of which was developed by Pope Gregory in the sixth century. He, in fact, added envy to the list, which was previously eight deadly sins, but he combined a few and added the one. So envy is a deadly sin, but is it a mortal one?

Mortal sin is also a Catholic concept which was defined by Saint Augustine as a thought, word, or deed contrary to the eternal law.

In discussing envy, the Catholic Encyclopaedia (an appropriate source as both deadly and mortal sins are Catholic concepts) is unclear whether envy is really a sin, it only concludes it is a sin by defining away several forms of envy. In discussing jealousy (which it considers synonymous with envy, yet devotes a separate entry to,) the encyclopedia suggests it can be a mortal sin if the jealousy is spiritual, it is more usually a venial sin (which leads only to temporal punishment, not eternal.)

So, is the Judeo-Christian's God's jealousy a sin, whether mortal or venial?

Again, referring to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, probably not. There seems to be a God loophole - God cannot sin. God alone is defined as perfectly good. A sin is defined as an act against God. It is questionable if God's jealousy is an act against himself.

Also, a sin must be a voluntary act. Which leads to the following thought, not from the Encyclopaedia:

As God knows everything, all his acts are predetermined. Therefore, God has no free will, and thus is incapable of a voluntary act. So God cannot sin.

Of course, requiring sin to be a voluntary act makes the tenth commandment rather moot at least as far as Catholics are concerned - can coveting be anything but involuntary?

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