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Catholic Dictionary




The state of Adam and Eve before they sinned. It was the simultaneous possession of sanctifying grace, with its right to enter heaven, and the preternatural gifts. Had Adam not sinned, original justice would have been transmitted to all his descendants. Later, through repentance, he personally recovered sanctifying grace but not the other prerogatives of original justice. Since Adam, human beings are said to be deprived of original justice. Jesus Christ, the new head of the human race, by his passion and death expiated human sin and regained what Adam had lost. Sanctifying grace is restored at justification, but the preternatural gifts are returned only as capacities (such as the ability to overcome concupiscence) or only eventually (such as bodily immortality after the final resurrection).