Historical Aspect of the 7 deadly sins
According to traditional Orthodox Christian history, the 7 deadly sins were created in the 4th Century by a monk named of Evagrius Ponticus. Originally this list of sins was drawn up as a form of education in Christianity. The list of sins includes: gluttony, envy, lust, wrath, greed, sloth and pride.
All seven of these emotions are rebellious tendencies which afflict human nature. These tendencies were originally studied and applied to monks in early Christianity who sometimes fell to temptation as they were living solitary lives consisting of prayer and deprivation.
These hermits were most prone to this particular set of powerful emotions which became known as the7 deadly sins. They were identified so that the monks could avoid them and therefore be aware of the pitfall they represented. They were believed to be the cause of all great downfalls.
According to the Roman Catholic Church, these sins are cardinal meaning mortal wrongdoings as opposed to venial sins meaning minor wrongdoings. So just by the fact that they have been classified as cardinal portrays the seriousness of them.
This list of sins is firmly embedded in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church as they came about before the Protestant reformation. Although the Protestants view these sins as being serious, they do not distinguish between cardinal or venial.
Whatever their historical setting and evolvement as major signs of human weakness and fallibility, these sins have remained well known to this day and can be widely expressed even outside of the Christian setting.
Fast forward many centuries later, in today’s terms the 7 deadly sins may have lost the gothic type fearful image of “you will burn in hell for this” type of message. Nonetheless they have become some of the difficult 7 emotions to deal with. In recent times psychologist study these particular emotions in terms of the impact they have on human behaviour.
We may not all be monks or hermits, but if you are looking to improve your lifestyle then there is a lesson to be learned from the sins – that is several other blog posts altogether – so watch out for future posts on these deadly but tempting emotions.
In the meantime here are some brief explanations and definitions of the sins. These definitions include the Latin name as well as the original colours and animals associated with each of the seven deadly sins.
The famous 7 deadly sins list
So according to Pope Gregory the Great, 6th Century A.D. and in order of increasing severity, the summarised list of sins are as follows:
Latin: Luxuria, Animal: Cow Colour: Blue
Lust is a strong desire to be with someone. It is a powerful motivator. It is not the same as love. Lust is not being aware of the consequences of your desire. The act of lust can cause danger.
Latin: Gula, Animal: Pig Colour: Orange
Gluttony is when you consume something in excess. Usually associated with eating too much but can be applied to excess of other things too. As opposed to greed which is the desire to have power of others, gluttony specifically implies misuse of own body hence overeating causes health issues as well as excess body fat.
Latin: Avaritia, Animal: Frog, Colour: Yellow
Greed is the desire to accumulate more than you need. It becomes a sin when you allow all reasonable control and value to be compromised in your quest to get what you want.It is the desire to have more power and control.
4. Sloth – Lazziness
Latin: Acedia, Animal: Goat, Colour: Light Blue
Laziness occurs when you take your rest periods too far by not completing undesirable tasks or even not doing what you are supposed to do as chores. You avoid challenges thereby avoiding growth in a positive way.
Latin: Ira, Animal: Bear, Colour: Red
The desire to hurt someone is known as wrath. It differs from anger in that it is a deeper desire to cause pain whereas anger is sudden burst of rebellion which calms down.
Latin: Invidia, Animal: Dog, Colour: Green
Envy is the desire to have something someone else has. Envy cannot be used on an object – it is always towards an individual or group. E.G when someone owns something you desire, it is not the item you are envious of but the feelings you believe that the person has for owning the desired item.
Latin: Superbia, Animal: Horse, Colour: Violet
Pride is the belief in yourself that you are far superior than everyone else. When consumed with this sin, you lose sight of your limitations and cannot be contained within your boundaries. Fine in small doses but dangerous in large situations.
I will be discussing each of these sins in detail and what you can do to try to overcome these emotions in future blog posts.
The Seven Deadly Sins Series:
1. Overcoming Lust as One of the Seven Deadly Sins | 2. Overcoming Gluttony as One of the Seven Deadly Sins | 3. Overcoming Greed as One of the Seven Deadly Sins | 4. Overcoming Sloth as One of the Seven Deadly Sins | 5. Overcoming Wrath as One of the Seven Deadly Sins | 6. Overcoming Envy as One of the Seven Deadly Sins | 7. Overcoming Pride as One of the Seven Deadly Sins |
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