interval of time was needed for them freely to embrace
divine communion and a share in divine life.
This gift of sanctifying grace is the essential element in
the supernatural state of original justice—“supernatural” not
only in being beyond human nature and entirely unmerited,
but also and properly in entailing a share or participation
in the divine life that transcends the possibilities of human
nature on its own. The term “supernatural” in its proper
theological sense signifies the transformed and elevated
human nature of persons now enabled to live life at a new
level of divine charity and communion. It is “natural” only
to the three divine Persons—each consubstantially shar-
ing the one divine nature—to share simultaneously in this
communion of Trinitarian life. Only by grace can persons
who are not God share in his life by adoptive participation
in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Within the state of original justice, sanctifying grace
was the principle of the perfections of human nature as
such. Not only was human nature drawn into a participation
in the divine life, but it was also perfected in itself by other
“preternatural” gifts. Freedom from bodily suffering and
death was in keeping with the natural immortality of the
soul. The gift of a harmony in human emotions was in ac-
cord with the control that right reason is meant to exercise.
The ordering of the whole human person to the supreme
love of God brought into harmony the whole ensemble.
Privation of original justice: consequences for us
SaintThomas’ theology of original sin is located within
the context of the human person’s journey to God. His
can be read as a commentary on a single
verse of Scripture:
Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does
not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he