What are the seven deadly sins?

The seven deadly sins are a list of specific sins historically discussed in the Catholic Church to teach followers about the universal nature of sin and the destruction it causes. The deadly sins are also called "capital sins" because they are viewed as the principal cause of further evil; the "deadly sins" initiate all other sins.

The Bible has a list of seven sins that God detests, although this list is quite different from what are commonly known as the "seven deadly sins":

"There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers."

(Proverbs 6:16-19)

The biblical list includes 1) pride, 2) lying, 3) violence, 4) wickedness, 5) a greedy pursuit of vice, 6) false witness, and 7) discord. There is nothing said about these sins being any more "deadly" than other sins, simply that the LORD hates them.

The seven deadly sins taught in church tradition are 1) wrath, 2) greed, 3) sloth, 4) pride, 5) lust, 6) envy, and 7) gluttony. The fourth-century monk Evagrius Ponticus first provided a list of seven deadly sins similar to this list in Greek. These were developed in the Western tradition by Pope Gregory I, whose list resembles the list used today.

By the early fourteenth century, the seven deadly sins had become a popular theme among European artists and writers. A mnemonic device also developed during this time: the acronym SALIGIA, using the first Latin letter of each of the seven deadly sins, superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira, and acedia. These sins became known as "the" sins spoken against in the church.

In 2008, the Catholic Church expanded the SALIGIA list with another list of "seven deadly sins." The new list is 1) polluting, 2) genetic engineering, 3) being obscenely rich, 4) drug dealing, 5) abortion, 6) pedophilia, and 7) causing social injustice.

Although the actions represented by SALGIA are indeed sins, they are never called "the seven deadly sins" in Scripture. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:12, all sins lead to death, and we are only saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Different sins may have varying levels of impact on the sinner, yet the Bible does not teach that there is any sin that is "worse" than another. The seven sins called "deadly" are no more or less evil than other sins. The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). We all require God's free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23-24).

Copyright 2011-2022 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.