Where the seven deadly sins are come from? And what are the secret meanings behind them?

Is it not surprising to know that deadly sins have nothing to do with murders, genocide, or child abuse? The list consists of anger, pride, greed, sloth, lust, envy, and gluttony. Why these things are so bad to be considered deadly? Where the seven deadly sins are come from? And what are the secret meanings behind them?

Okay, if you don’t have time or patience to read this article, we uncover the secret meanings of the seven deadly sins right away: it’s all about health and happiness of an individual for the only good socio-biological reason – to produce healthy children.

The secret meanings of the seven deadly sins

 

These seven deadly sins are not so much activities. None of them are crimes that could cause an arrest and imprisonment. All of them are about corruption of your mind and overall health. All of them lead to behavior that is destructive to an individual, not the society. You will not be punished in the afterlife by boiling in oil. The punishment would be illnesses, physical and mental disabilities, broken relationships, inability to give a birth to a child … you name it.

So, let’s start from the basics.

Where did the 7 deadly sins come from?

Actually, you cannot find the whole list of the seven deadly sins in the Bible, like the Ten Commandments, for instance. They are just implied but never declared. The seven deadly sins as we know them had pre-Christian Greek and Roman precedents.

Eight evil thoughts

The modern concept of the seven deadly sins is linked to the works of the fourth-century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who listed eight evil thoughts as follows:

  1. Gluttony (gula in Latin)
  2. Lust (luxuria)
  3. Greed (avaricia)
  4. Sorrow / Despair / Sadness (tristitia)
  5. Anger / Wrath (ira)
  6. Sloth (acedia)
  7. Pride / Vanity (superbia)
  8. Vainglory (Vanagloria)

Have you noticed the name “evil thoughts” but not deadly sins? It refers to the corruption of the mind (and this is the key point).

Seven deadly sins by Pope Gregory I

In AD 590, Pope Gregory I revised this list: he combined tristitia with acedia, and vanagloria with superbia, and added envy, in Latin, invidia:

  1. Pride (Vanity)
  2. Envy
  3. Anger
  4. Sadness
  5. Greed (Avarice)
  6. Gluttony
  7. Lust

 

These seven sins are also known as the “capital sins” because they are the basis of all other sins. Gregory’s list considers sins as more or less deadly depending on how they offend against love to God and this list became the standard list of sins.

1 The Sin of Pride (Vanity)

Pride, or vanity (in its modern narcissistic sense), is an inadequate sense of one’s personal value, exaggerated self-esteem. Some philosophers define vanity as “the love of one’s own excellence” and “the specific feeling through which egoism manifests.” Actually, vanity is sometimes a lie used to cover the lack of self-esteem the committer of pride feels deep down.

In many religions, people with excessively inflated belief in their own appearance, abilities, social status, or achievements self-idolize themselves – they reject God for the sake of their own image, and thereby become divorced from the graces of God. In Christianity, pride is called the root of all evil, the sin from which all others sins arise.

Today, instead of word pride or vanity, we often use word narcissism – excessive admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance – different terminology but the same meaning.

The secret meaning behind the sin of pride

Of all the seven deadly sins, pride, perhaps, is the most difficult to understand. Pride plays a double role. The positive aspect is that pride pushes people to overtake someone in mental, physical, and emotional development. The negative aspect is that it leads to mental distress, builds walls between people, interferes with feeling and understanding each other, leads to quarrels and enmity.

Here we are talking about excessive vanity, the overwhelming feeling of superiority to others.

The Law of Comparison

Pride is an amazing quality in a person. It rests on the Law of Comparison, the basic law of seeing the world differently, and penetrates almost all areas of human existence. This law is the value of the individual distinction of one person from another.

Self-grandiosity

Vanity directly relates to a person’s self-esteem, or rather to the problems of self-esteem. Vanity can reach the depths of hell. It can cause us to become overly concerned with the opinions of others, thereby weakening our sense of self. None of the passions can grow to such limits as pride and this is precisely its main danger.

Energy predator

Pride is an energy predator, the predator that hunts for human energy intended for completely different tasks. It can happen in many ways, but here I’d like to mention just one: vain people cannot tolerate criticism. When wounded in the ego, either by a real or a perceived criticism, the narcissist’s displays of anger can be disproportionate to the nature of the criticism suffered. And that anger not only eats lots of energy but also leads to mental distress.

Mental distress

A vain person craves for power and success, but experiences the perceived injustice of failing to do so. It leads to mental distress. And in its turn, constant stress can be a cause of any illness that you have heard about.

Reduced ability to keep romantic relationships

Although most of us have some narcissistic traits, narcissism is the pathologically exaggerated feelings of self-importance and grandiosity, an excessive need for admiration, and lack of empathy for other people. Such a sense of personal superiority may lead to the inability to keep intimate romantic relationships.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) typically value themselves over others, to the extent of openly disregarding the wishes and feelings of anyone else, and expect to be treated as superior, regardless of their actual status or achievements. NPD impairs the person’s psychological abilities to function socially, to keep a family, and to raise children.

2 The Sin of Envy

Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation. It is a state of mind in which one is highly agitated to obtain wealth and honour for oneself, but unable to bear the excellence of others.

Envy is a very complicated feeling: it’s rather the desire to take away what others have, not for the sake of having it for one’s self, but as a punishment for those who are more fortunate.

IIn Christianity, envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically, “Neither shall you covet … anything that belongs to your neighbour.” According to the Bible, envy is the motive behind Cain murdering his brother, Abel, as Cain envied Abel because God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s.

Aristotle defined envy as “the pain caused by the good fortune of others”, while Kant defined it as “a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others”.

Please note:

There is an element of motivation in envy: you are envious, and this pushes you to new achievements. There is nothing defamatory in the desire to surpass your competitors – it does not matter if it is a business or personal life. And if without envy you would never bother, then, envious, you are ready to move mountains.

Here we are talking about the overwhelming emotion, the burning desire that people who are more fortunate than you to lose almost everything they have.

So, the question is – what is so bad with this feeling to be considered as one of the seven deadly sins?

The secret meaning behind the sin of envy

The most harmful feeling

If lust or gluttony gives people pleasure, then envy makes them experience a whole complex of negative emotions that poison their lives. It turns all good things into bad things: the joy of others – into their own irritation, the successes and advantages of others – into a feeling of their own inferiority. In addition, if people sometimes flaunt their other sins, then they try to hide their envy. After all, it is a clear recognition of the impotence of a person to receive what the other has. And no one likes to admit their weakness and helplessness.

Poison for mind and body

No matter how many misfortunes the envious person wishes to the lucky man, all his malice remains in him, undermining his strength and health. After all, envy, like any other negative emotion, activates the sympathetic nervous system, which makes muscles tense, quickens the pulse, raises blood pressure and disrupts the normal functioning of the digestive system.

Being unhappy

The envious individual believes that their own happiness will increase only if the happiness of those whom they envy decreases. When envy can take over your mind, it becomes a powerful virus that kills our confidence and self-worth making you unhappy and depressed. This strong negative emotion can completely ruin your health and make you miserable for the rest of your life.

So, before you envy someone, you need to ask yourself: “Do I really want to ruin my health?

3 The Sin of Anger

Anger, also known as wrath, is an intense negative emotion, an inordinate and uncontrolled feeling of hatred. The sin of wrath also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. If you are angry, your heart rate increases, blood pressure elevates, and the adrenaline content becomes very high. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of wrath directed inwardly.

Anger may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Mahatma Gandhi said, “It takes ten generations for healing to become real. Given time, we will end the demand of, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ fearing that the whole world may wind up blind and toothless…”

The secret meaning behind the sin of anger

 Internal damage

According to Louise Hay, anger is another affirmation, and it’s telling your body that you hate it, or parts of it. Your cells are very aware of every thought you have.

Energy surge

Anger creates energy surges, and when energy surges occur, chemicals such as adrenaline enter your bloodstream, your heart rate increases, your blood flow increases, and your muscles tense.

Cardiovascular diseases

Anger ups your heart attack and stroke risk. One study stated that in the two hours after an angry outburst, the chance of having a heart attack doubles and the risk of having a stroke from a blood clot to the brain or bleeding within the brain triples.

Weaker immune system

People who are habitually angry also report feeling sick more often.

4 The Sin of Sadness

Cannot see words “Sorrow / Despair / Sadness / Depression / Melancholy” on the list of the seven deadly sins? This is because, in the seventeenth century, the Catholic Church called it “sloth”. Sloth is one of the seven capital sins that is the most difficult to define and credit as sin.

The secret meaning behind the sin of despair

Actually, sloth has nothing to do with laziness; rather laziness is a result of sloth.

The word “sloth” is a translation of the Latin term acedia that means “without care”. It’s a corrupted state of the mind, a lack of any feeling about self or others, a mind-state that gives rise to fatigue, apathy, sorrow, depression, despair, and deep sadness. It’s an inert state without pain or care. It’s a life without joy.

In early Christianity, the lack of joy was regarded as a wilful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created

 Despair is the precipitating cause of suicide. “If the man be bereft, give him solace. If he be in physical torment, give him medicine. If he be to the desire of death, give him hope. Reason, encouragement, and faith bring hope, therefore, use them liberally” (Francis of Assisi)

5 The Sin of Greed

Greed, also known as avarice, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. It’s a burning desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power, a desire to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves.

“Avarice” is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and 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.

The secret meaning behind the sin of greed

Greed eats up a person from inside ruining the mind and body. No joy, only envy, anger, and depression. It sucks up every strand of happiness and results in death.

6 The Sin of Gluttony

Gluttony is an overwhelming desire for and over-consumption of food; not simply to eat to excess, but to horde food.

In Medieval times, St. Thomas Aquinas took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods. Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:

  • eating too soon
  • eating too expensively
  • eating too much
  • eating too eagerly
  • eating too daintily
  • eating wildly

The secret meaning behind the sin of gluttony

Gluttony doesn’t cause significant harm to anyone except the food lover himself. Gluttony is not bad merely because it is an encouragement to waste, but it is also an unhealthy habit. It leads to obesity and overweight and to having medical problems early in life.

According to the 2021 review:

  • Nauru (a Pacific Island nation with roughly 10,000 inhabitants) has the highest obesity rate in the world at 61.0%. Their diet consists mostly of noodles, rice, soda, and food from tins, likely attributed to the island’s economic downturn making it difficult to access healthy food. Type 2-diabetes is a large concern among the Nauru people.
  • The United States is one of the most obese countries in the world: it has the 12th highest obesity rate of 36.2%. Diet is primarily to blame. Americans often opt for fast, cheap, and filling options such as processed packaged food, fast food, and larger portions. This often leads to a higher fat, calorie, and sodium intake and lower intake of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Vietnam has the lowest obesity rate of 2.1%. However, it has a large number of malnourished and underweight citizens.

Obesity is a complex disease and isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a serious medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

 

7 The Sin of Lust

Lust is the inordinate desire of sexual nature, an excessive craving for the pleasures of the body. Lust is, like greed and gluttony, a sin of excess. It appeals to the darkest side of us. It is when you take something that is good, twist it, and add cravings to it so you are consumed until you are gratified.

The secret meaning behind the sin of lust

Lust is considered a deadly sin for several reasons:

  • It can literally ruin the person’s health by contracting a sexually-transmitted disease.
  • It can cause the breakup of marriages which shelter children while they are growing up.
  • It can lead to other more hurtful behaviours of a criminal nature.
  • It can distract individuals from more worthwhile pursuits.

Lust is based on extreme self-indulgence, not caring about the other person. Lust and love are completely different things.

So, the hidden meaning of the seven deadly sins is the good health of YOUR mind and body – here and now; the physical and emotional health of each individual to live happily and to produce a healthy new generation to prolong the human race.

 

 

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