Definition of prelapsarian
: characteristic of or belonging to the time or state before the fall of humankind
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Prelapsarian is the latest creation in the "lapsarian" family, which is etymologically related to Latin lapsus, meaning "slip" or "fall." "Supralapsarian" is the firstborn, appearing in 1633 as a word for someone who held the belief that people were predestined to either eternal life or eternal death before the Creation and the Fall (the event in the Bible when Adam and Eve were forced to leave the Garden of Eden because they had sinned against God). Next in line is "sublapsarian," which refers to a person who adhered to the view that God foresaw and permitted the Fall and after the Fall decreed predestination to eternal life as a means of saving some of the human race. That word first appears in 1656 and was followed by its synonym, "infralapsarian," in distant 1731. Postlapsarian, meaning "of, relating to, or characteristic of the time or state after the Fall," appeared two years later, and "prelapsarian" was delayed until 1879.
Origin and Etymology of prelapsarian
pre- + Latin lapsus slip, fall — more at lapse
First Known Use: 1879
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