The Seven Deadly Sins also known as Seven Sins, Capital Vices, Cardinal Sins, and Distorted Sins are a major part of many theological writings and ethics, especially those of the Christian faith.
It is unknown how the Seven Deadly Sins were formed, although according to Metatron, the Seven Sins came into formation from none other than the Seven Princes of Hell themselves. Before the War in Heaven, each figure that would come to be one of the seven princes, began to exhibit emotions that go against their beings and the morals of Heaven. The first among them was Lucifer, who due to his unrivaled beauty and power, was consumed with pride and from there the sin of pride took form. Eventually, each of the other princes, once high-ranked angels, allowed their sins to overcome them and take physical form as well.
Another belief, however, is that the sins were given form upon the birth of Sin herself who sprang from Satan's head the moment he began to rebel against God and Heaven. Sin's expulsion from Satan created a "blowback" that resulted in the vices the six other high-ranked angels were experiencing to also manifest and spring forth from their being. This could in a sense make Sin the creator of the Seven Deadly Sins although she is mostly credited with being the mother of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Most of the capital sins are defined by Dante Alighieri as perverse or corrupt versions of love: lust, gluttony, and greed are all excessive or disordered love of good things; wrath, envy, and pride are perverted love directed toward other's harm. The sole exception is sloth, which is a deficiency of love. In the seven capital sins are seven ways of eternal death. The capital sins from lust to envy are generally associated with pride, thought to be the father of all sins. Although the Seven Deadly Sins are considered to be the most dangerous and/or destructive sins, capable of damning a soul that has not redeemed itself; some beliefs state that all souls, no matter how wicked, will eventually be saved.
Lust, or lechery, is intense longing. It is usually thought of as intense or unbridled sexual desire, which may lead to fornication (including adultery), rape, bestiality and other sinful sexual acts. However, lust could also mean other forms of unbridled desire, such as for money or power. Henry Edward Manning says the impurity of lust transforms one into "a slave of the devil".
Dante defined lust as the disordered love for individuals. It is generally thought the least serious capital sin as it is an abuse of a faculty that humans share with animals, and sins of the flesh are less grievous than spiritual sins.
In the Inferno, unforgiven souls guilty of lust are eternally blown about in restless hurricane-like winds symbolic of their own lack of self-control of their lustful passions in earthly life.
Gluttony is the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste. One reason for its condemnation is that gorging by the prosperous may leave the needy hungry.
Medieval church leaders took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and over-indulgence in delicacies and costly foods.
Aquinas listed five forms of gluttony:
- Laute – eating too expensively
- Studiose – eating too daintily
- Nimis – eating too much
- Praepropere – eating too soon
- Ardenter – eating too eagerly
Of these, ardenter is often considered the most serious, since it is a passion for a mere earthly pleasure, which can make the committer eat impulsively, or even reduce the goals of life to mere eating and drinking.
Greed, also known as avarice, cupidity, or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of desire. However, greed (as seen by the Church) is applied to an artificial, rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."Hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.
Sloth ("without care") refers to a peculiar jumble of notions, dating from antiquity and including mental, spiritual, pathological, and physical states. It may be defined as absence of interest or habitual disinclination to exertion.
The scope of sloth is wide. Spiritually, acedia first referred to an affliction attending religious persons, especially monks, wherein they became indifferent to their duties and obligations to God. Mentally, acedia has a number of distinctive components of which the most important is affectlessness, a lack of any feeling about self or other, a mind-state that gives rise to boredom, rancor, apathy, and a passive inert or sluggish mentation. Physically, acedia is fundamentally associated with a cessation of motion and an indifference to work; it finds expression in laziness, idleness, and indolence.
Wrath can be defined as uncontrolled feelings of anger, rage, and even hatred. Wrath often reveals itself in the wish to seek vengeance. In its purest form, wrath presents with injury, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of wrath can manifest in different ways, including impatience, hateful misanthropy, revenge, and self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or suicide.
Envy, like greed and lust, is characterized by an insatiable desire. It can be described as a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else. It arises from vainglory, and severs a man from his neighbor.
Malicious envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone's traits, status, abilities, or rewards. A difference is that the envious also desire the entity and covet it. Envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically, "Neither shall you covet ... anything that belongs to your neighbour"—a statement that may also be related to greed. Dante defined envy as "a desire to deprive other men of theirs".
Pride is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins. Out of the seven, it is the most angelical, or demonic. It is also thought to be the source of the other capital sins. Also known as hubris, or futility, it is identified as dangerously corrupt selfishness, the putting of one's own desires, urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of other people.
In even more destructive cases, it is irrationally believing that one is essentially and necessarily better, superior, or more important than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal image or self (especially forgetting one's own lack of divinity, and refusing to acknowledge one's own limits, faults, or wrongs as a human being).