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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