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Following Saint Anselm,


Aquinas maintained that origi-

nal sin is the absence of original justice, “the disordered

disposition rising from the dissolution of that harmony

in which original justice consisted.”


Aquinas insists that

original justice entails that the first human beings be created

in the state of grace—“concreated,” to use the technical

term. Given what we know from revelation about God’s

purpose in creating persons with whom to share his life, it

wouldmake no sense, Aquinas thinks, to create them from

the start in a state where such participation would have

been impossible. Thus for Aquinas, original justice was a

“concomitant of the nature of the species [

accidens naturae


], not as being caused by the basic elements of the

species, but as a gift given by God to human nature as a



“Original justice was a particular gift of grace di-

vinely bestowed upon all human nature in the first parent.”


This is a hugely important point. In God’s plan for

the human race, there is no room for an interval of time—however brief—in which creaturely persons would have

existed outside the ambit of grace. To be sure, there had

to be an opportunity for the free embrace of the grace of

communion on their part, but such an embrace would only

be possible for persons already in the state of grace. Thus,

for Aquinas, both pure spirits—the angels—and embodied

persons—human beings—were concreated in grace and

thus free to embrace the communion on offer.

For the angels, with immediate intuitive knowledge,

no interval of time was necessary to embrace, or fail to

embrace, the divine offer of communion. Like the angels,

human beings were concreated in grace; unlike them, some

4 cf. Kors, 23-24

5 ST 1a2ae. 82, 1-3

6 ST 1a. 100, 1

7 ST 1a2ae. 81, 2