A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's “Dogmatik”
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning
VOLUME 1 Book III -- Part II


CREATION AND THE SUPERNATURAL ORDER

pp. 389-427

CHAPTER V. Man.

The commentaries of the Fathers on the Hexahemeron, especially St. Ambrose and St. Gregory of Nyssa. St. Aug., De Gen. ad Lit., op. perf., 1. vi. sqq., and in his writings against the Manichaeans, esp. De Duabus Animabus
Petr. Lomb., 2 Sent., dist. 16 sqq., with comm. of St. Bonav., AEgidius, and Estius; William of Paris, De Anima; St.
Thom., /., qq. 75-93; Cont. Gent., 1. ii. 56 sqq. Suarez, De Opif., 1. iii. sqq., and De Anima; Benedict Pereyra, in
Genesim, 1. iv. sqq.; Kleutgen, Philos., diss. viii.

The theological doctrine on Man may be treated under three heads: --

A. --Man as the image and likeness of God.
B. --The origin and substantial character of man's nature.
C. --The characteristics of man's life.

Sect. 124. --Interpretation of Gen. i. 26: “Let Us make man to Our image and likeness”

I. The change of phrase from “Let there be“ to “Let Us make,” when God is about to create man, and the description of man as the image of the Creator, give to this last and crowning creation a special solemnity. The notion of man as the image of God is the perfect theological idea of man. God Himself looks upon man, not like philosophers, as an animal endowed with reason, but as His own likeness. This idea exhibits man's essence and destiny in direct relation to God. It affords a basis for a deeper conception of human nature in itself, and also as regards its natural and supernatural evolution and final perfection in short, it describes the ideal man, as realized by Divine intuition in Adam.

The text (Gen. i. 26) is so full of meaning that many explanations of it are given by the Fathers and by Theologians, each seeming to view the text under a different aspect and to find in it a new meaning. The text runs: “Let Us make man to Our image (in Hebrew) and likeness (Hebrew—Sept. in the Greek text): and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and over every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to His own image, and to the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”

The Hebrew Zelem is, like our word image, something concrete, originally meaning a shadow; it is also used to designate the idols of false divinities. Demuth, on the contrary, is something abstract, well-rendered by (in Greek) in the Septuagint --a similitude or likeness. The conjunction of the terms “image“ and “likeness“ is found nowhere else in Holy Scripture, except Gen. v. 3 . Wherever the same idea is expressed in other passages, only one of the two terms is employed a clear proof that they are considered as synonymous by the sacred writers. “God created man to His own image, to the image of God (Elohim) created He him“ (Gen. i. 27). “God created man; He made him to the likeness of God (B'Demuth) (Gen. v. i). “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God“ (Gen. ix. 6). The Hebrew text evidently shows that man is the image of God, and not merely has this image in him.

II. From this we are enabled to determine the precise sense of the text in the following manner: --

I. It is evident that the expression “image and likeness of God“ signifies a distinct perfection belonging to the nature of man, or rather constituting man's specific essence as distinguished from all other visible beings, and therefore not capable of being lost by sin. Indeed, man is described in the same terms before and after his fall.

The literal sense of the text contains no more than this. It must, however, be granted that, in their fullest meaning, the words “image“ and “likeness,” especially the latter, also refer to the supernatural likeness of man to God. Those Fathers who expound the “likeness“ in the sense of a supernatural similitude to God, speak from the standpoint of the New Testament. The first readers of Genesis, for whom the book was primarily written, certainly were unable to detect in it any but the natural and literal sense given above.

2. The expression, “to make to the image,” may also be understood of a destination of man to become similar to God either by following the good inclinations of his nature or by yielding to a supernatural influence. But such is not the literal and proper sense; the text declares what man is, not what he ought to become. His higher destiny is a necessary consequence of his being an image of God. His power to attain his natural destination --that is, his aptitude to lead a moral life --is part of the nature which God has created in him; and, inasmuch as it is neither acquired nor freely accepted, it is not lost by sin, but remains as long as human nature itself. Sin, however, may suspend or impair man's moral faculty.

3. Although man is really the image of God, and not merely destined to become such, still he is an image only in a relative and analogical sense. The Son of God alone is God's absolute and perfect Image; and also the Ideal, or Exemplar, after which man is made (Heb. i. 3; 2 Cor. iv. 4).

The words of Gen. I. 26, give a definition of man as a whole; for they apply to the compound of body and soul afterwards described, Gen. ii. 7: “And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Thus, by his body, which is the organ and temple of the soul, man is an image, a shadow (Zelem, simulacrum) of God; by his spiritual soul he bears a real likeness to Him; and as animated body, he is the living image and likeness, or the living effigy of the living God. As visible and living image of God, man is the crown of visible creation (the Cosmos of the Cosmos, Const. Apost., vii. 3, 4 viii. 7), and as such, even animals must revere and fear him.

III. The ante-Nicene Fathers considered man's body as the image of God. In the fourth century, however, when anthropomorphic heresies arose, the custom prevailed of insisting almost exclusively on the likeness which the soul bears to God. The reasons for this change are obvious. The body is the image of God only in as far as it is informed, animated, and worked by the soul; besides, there was danger of conceiving the Ideal after whose likeness man is made, as being itself a body. Again, in the Arian controversies, the terms (in Greek) and imago, as applied to the Son of God, the Image of the Father, had received a fixed meaning, viz. a likeness such as exists only between the Persons of the Trinity.

Sect. 125. --Man the Image of God.

I. The definition of man given in Genesis shows better than any other the excellence and dignity of his essence, position, and destiny among and above the rest of creation.

I. The image of God is seen in man from the fact that man is able and is destined to rule the whole visible world and to turn it to his service. His dominion is an imitation of Divine Providence, with the limitations that necessarily distinguish the rule of a creature from that of the Creator (Ps. viii.) This attribute of regal dignity and dominion essentially implies Personality in man. None but a personal being can be the end of other beings, can possess itself, enjoy happiness, and use other things for its own ends. The excellence of personality is founded upon intellect and will. For this reason, the Fathers find the likeness of man to God expressed most vividly in these two faculties. Holy Scripture itself points out in several places the dignity which accrues to*man from his being the image of God (cf. Gen. ix. 6 and James iii. 9).

2. The human soul bears a further likeness to God in the spirituality of its substance; and this is the principal point of similarity, from which all others spring. The soul is created a spirit in order to be like to God; its spirituality implies incorruptibility and immortality, by which it is placed above all things material and perishable, and partakes of the Divine immutability and eternity (see Wisd. ii. 23). The same attribute is the reason why the soul cannot be procreated by generation, but is the direct product of an act of creation. Hence the Apostle said, “Being, then, the offspring of God“ (Acts xvii. 29) --to point out the substantial likeness of the soul to God.

3. Lastly, the intellectual life of man has the same contents ( = subject-matter), the same direction, and the same final object as the life of God Himself. In fact, the soul is enabled and destined to know and to love God Himself, and so to apprehend its Divine prototype and to be united with Him. “Man is after God's image,” says St. Augustine (De Trin., xiv. 8), “by the very fact that he is capable of God and can be a partaker of Him.” As the soul receives immediately from God its being and life, so also it has in God alone its direct final object and its rule of life; that is to say, no fruition except the fruition of God can fill the soul; no one but God can claim the possession of the human soul; no will, except the will of God, can bind the free will of the soul.

II. A comparison of man with the Angels as to the perfection of representing the image and likeness of God, shows that, in several respects, man is a more perfect likeness of his Maker than even the Angels. The latter, of course, represent the Divine Substance and the Divine intellectual life in greater perfection; but man has several points in his favour.

1. Just as God, intrinsically present in all things, gives being and activity to all things by a continuous act of creation, so does the soul of man, intrinsically present in his body, hold together and develop its organization, and generate new human organisms, thus possessing a plastic activity not given to the Angels.

2. As the All-present Creator breathes life into His creatures, the human soul communicates life to the vegetative and animal organs of the body, and disposes the new organisms for the reception of life; a privilege also denied to the Angels.

The beauty of the world manifests the beauty grandeur of God: so the noble form and beauty of the human body reproduce and manifest the beauty of the soul. The works of the Angels, on the contrary, are only works of art: they are not their own in the same way as the body is the soul's own, and they bear no intrinsic relation to the internal beauty of their authors.

4. The Divine Concurrence, in virtue of which God is the Author of all that is done by His creatures, and especially of their moral actions, is imaged in the concursus or co-operation of the soul with the body: most actions of the body are so intimately bound up with those of the soul that they form but one action attributable to the soul. Angels, on the contrary, have but the power to move bodies from without as something distinct from themselves.

5. Lastly, as God is the final object of all that is, so the soul of man is the final object of man's body: the body exists entirely for the soul, and has no dignity or worth except in as far as it is subservient to the soul. But the human body is the highest and most perfect organism of the material world, a microcosm, containing in itself a compendium of all other organisms: hence the whole material world, in and through the human body, bears a relation to the human soul, and through the medium of the human soul is, as it were, consecrated and brought into relation with God. Thus the spirit of man is not only the king, but also the priest of the world. The relation of the material world to the Angels is merely external; they have no other point in common than that they are created by, and for the glory of, the same God.

Man is, therefore, more than the Angels, the image and likeness of God. To man alone this title is given purely and simply in Holy Writ. In the later books of the Old Testament (Wisd. vii. 26), and in the New Testament, Christ, as the Son of God, is also called the Image of God (2 Cor. iv. 4), in order to place Him in dignity above all creatures whatever, just as the same title places man above all visible creatures. The Son of God, however, is the Image of the Father in a deeper sense than man: the Son is an absolute, man a relative, likeness. Notwithstanding this essential difference, the external image, man, corresponds so perfectly with the internal image, the Word, that man is, as it were, a reproduction of the Word. In the Incarnation the Internal Image entered the external and the external image was drawn into the Internal by hypostatic union, thus achieving the most astonishing of Divine Works.

Sect. 126. --The Likeness to God in Man and Woman.

From what has been said, it is clear that man is the image of God by reason of his peculiar nature. Holy Scripture suggests two further questions on this subject, viz. Are man and woman in the same degree the image of God? Is the distinction of Persons in God reproduced in His created Image?

I. As to the first question, it is evident that both man and woman are the image of God in as far as both possess the same human nature. The text Gen. i. 27, affirms this 'explicitly; and in Gen. ii. 18-20, the woman is distinguished from the animals as being a help like unto or meet for man --that is, of the same nature.

It is, nevertheless, true that of man alone Scripture says, directly and formally, that he is made to the likeness of God. Hence St. Paul teaches: “The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man” (i Cor. xi. 7-9). Woman, then, having received human nature only mediately through man, and to be a helpmate to man, is not an image of God in the same full sense as man. Woman, considered as wife --that is, in a position of subjection and dependence, --is in no wise an image of God, but rather a type of the relation which the creature bears to the Creator and Lord.

II. The question whether the Trinity is copied in man originates from the text Gen. i. 26: “Let Us make man to Our image,” which is commonly understood as having been spoken between the Three Divine Persons. This form of speech certainly does not exclude a likeness of man to the one nature of God, for it admits the sense, “Let Us make man to Our image by giving him a nature like unto Our own. ”As a matter of fact, Scripture adds directly, “In the image of God created He them.” The post-Nicene Fathers have found no other sense in this text; on the contrary, from the fact that one man is the copy of a nature common to three persons, they conclude the unity of substance and nature in God. But does the human image of the Divine Nature bear also a likeness to the Trinity? As the Divine Persons are not distinct substances but only distinct relations, they can be represented only by some analogous relation in man. The text of Genesis is silent on the existence of such relations. If, however, on theological grounds we can show that they do exist, it is safe to say that, in the intention of God, the text Gen. i. 26, 27, has this meaning. Man's likeness to the Trinity cannot be of such perfection that a single human nature is common to three distinct persons. On the other hand, the three so-called faculties of the --soul memory, understanding, and will --do not present a sufficient likeness, because the three corresponding attributes in God are not each of them peculiar to a Person, but are merely appropriated. The likeness must be found in some productions of human nature. Now, here man offers a twofold similarity to the Trinity. First, in common with the Angels, his mind produces acts of knowledge and love which, especially when they are concerned with God, represent the origins and relations of the Divine Persons as to their spiritual and immanent, but not as to their hypostatic, character. Secondly, the production of sons by generation, and the production of the first woman out of the side of man, afford a likeness to the origins and relationships in the Trinity, as considered in their hypostatic character. In other words, man's mental acts show forth the identity of Nature in the Trinity, while his generative act shows forth the distinction of Persons. This twofold likeness to the Trinity once more shows man in the centre of creation as the complete image of God.

Sect. 127. --Essential Constitution of Man.

The words of Gen. ii. 7, in which the creation of the first man is described, contain the essential constitution of human nature: “And the Lord God formed man from the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Man is composed of a body taken from the earth, and of a spiritual soul breathed into the body by God. The body is made for the soul and the soul for the animation of the body: from the union of both results a living nature, akin alike to the living things on earth and to the living God.

I. As to the body of man, the Church, basing her doctrine on its revealed origin, teaches that it is composed of earthy or material elements; that its organization as a human body is not the result of either chance or the combined action of physical forces, but is formed after a clearly defined Divine Idea, either directly by Divine action, as in the case of the first man, or indirectly through the plastic force of generation. Hence we cannot admit the descent of man from ape-like ancestors by a process of gradual organic modification, even supposing that God directly created the soul when the organism had acquired a sufficient degree of perfection. Even apart from Revelation, sound philosophy will never admit that such a transformation of the types of organic beings is possible as would be required to arrive at the human organism. The astonishing unity in the immense variety of organisms is conclusive evidence of the Divine Wisdom of the Creator, but it is no evidence whatsoever of a successive transformation of the lower into higher organisms.

II. As to the other component part of man, the soul, Revelation confirms the teaching of natural reason, viz. that the soul of man essentially differs from the vital principles of animals in its acts, its faculties, and its substance. It is neither a body nor matter composed of extended parts; its existence and activity are not, like the life-principles of animals, dependent on union with an organism. Over and above the life which it imparts to the body, the soul, as (Greek) or mens, possesses a spiritual life of its own, independent of, and different from, the life of the body. Its substance, unlike that of other vital principles, is entirely incorporeal and immaterial. The soul is a spirit. The spirituality of its substance causes it to be naturally immortal: it cannot perish, either by decomposition, because it has no parts, or by separation from a substratum necessary to its existence, because it is independent of such substratum. Compared to lower vital principles, the human soul is more independent or self-sufficient, more simple or refined in substance, and altogether more perfect.

The immortality of the soul, being easily conceived, and being of immediate practical importance, is the popular characteristic of its substantial character. The spirituality of the soul has been defined in the Fourth Lateran Council and repeated in that of the Vatican; the immortality of the soul is asserted in a definition of the Fifth Lateran Council. The soul, in the two first-mentioned Councils, is called “spirit“ and “spiritual creature,” even as in the Vatican Council God is called a “spiritual substance,” in opposition to “corporal creatures.” The word “spirit“ is not explained by the Councils, and consequently it is to be taken in its ordinary sense. The Fifth Council of the Lateran condemned as heretical the doctrines of Averroes and his school concerning the mortality of the soul.

III. The spiritual substance, which is the life-giving the entire principle of the body, is also the sole principle of all life in the body; besides the soul, there is no other principle of life whatever in man. The Church has upheld the unity of the vital principle in man against the Apollinarists, who, in order to defend their doctrine that in Christ the Logos took the place of the rational soul, pretended that the life of the flesh was dependent on another principle distinct from the rational soul. “Whoever shall presume to assert that the rational or intellectual soul is not directly and essentially (per se et essentialiter) the form [that is, the life-giving principle] of the body, shall be deemed a heretic“ (Council of Vienne against the errors of Peter of Oliva).

IV. The soul, being the principle of animal and vegetative life in the body, constitutes with the body one nature. Soul and body are, at least in a certain respect, the common and direct principle, or subject, of the functions of the animal and vegetative life of man, and therein consists the unity of nature. This unity, however, presupposes a union of both substances by which they become real parts of one whole, become dependent on each other, belong to the complete and entire essence of which they are the parts, and lose, when separated, the perfection they had when united. Soul and body united form one complete nature in which the soul is the vivifying, active, determining principle, and the body the passive element. In the language of the Schoolmen this doctrine is expressed by the formula, “The soul is the substantial form of the body” See the definition of the Council of Vienne, quoted above.

Holy Scripture clearly indicates the unity of nature in man when it calls the soul and body together a “living soul“ --that is, a living thing or animal; and, at the same time, it frequently applies the term “flesh“ (caro, in Greek) to the whole man, which could not be done unless body and soul together constituted one nature and essence.

V. Body and soul, united so as to form one nature, also Soul and constitute one hypostasis, or person. All the attributes of man which give him the dignity of personality spring from and reside in his soul; besides, the soul can exist and live independently of the body, whereas the organization and life of the body are entirely dependent on the soul. Whence it may be said that, although man as a whole is a person, yet personality belongs more properly to the soul. In the human person, not less than in the human nature, the soul is the dominating principle. The prominent position of the soul in the human person ought not, however, to be urged to the extent of destroying or endangering the unity of the human nature, as Bishop Butler has done in his Analogy; for it is precisely to its place in the nature of man that the soul owes its dignity in the human hypostasis.

Sect. 128. --Production of the First Woman The Essence of Marriage.

I. The words in Gen. i. 27, “Male and female He created them,” are sufficient proof that the distinction of sexes and the corresponding organization of the human body were, from the very beginning, intended by the Creator as belonging to the concrete constitution of human nature. This further implies that the distinction of sexes is a natural good, given by God as means to the end expressed in Gen. i. 28: “Increase, and multiply, and fill the earth.” It is not, therefore, as some heretics have asserted, the lesser of two evils, permitted or ordained by the Creator in order to avoid a greater one. Again, from the text (Gen. i. 27), “To the image of God He created them; male and female He created them,” it clearly appears that the sexual distinction constitutes merely a difference in the nature of man and not a difference of nature.

II. Considered externally and materially, the distinction of sexes is common to man and animals. The sexual relations of man, however, are of a much higher order than those of animals. Their object in man is the production, with a special Divine co-operation, of a new “image of God.” This higher consideration is, according to the sense of Holy Writ and generally received opinion, the reason why man and woman were not, like the animals of different sexes, created at the same time and from the same earth. The creation of Eve, so fully and solemnly described (Gen. ii.), evidently has a far-reaching significance, acknowledged by Adam himself and confirmed by the explanations given in the New Testament (Matt. xix. 4); yet, in the first and primary sense, it refers to the sexual relations of man.

III. The formation of the first woman out of a rib of the first man, indicates that God intended to give to the union of man and woman a higher unity than that of the male and female of animals, a unity in keeping with the Divine images existing in the parents and in their offspring. Thus the production of Eve founded the diversity of sexes, but also laid down the constitution of the ordinary principle of propagation. We arrive at this conclusion (1) from the effects of the Divine act itself, and (2) from the Divine command expressed in the act, a law which determines the moral essence of the first and of all other marriages.

Before we proceed to demonstrate this, we give the full text upon which the demonstration is based. “And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let Us make him a help like unto [meet for or answering to] himself. And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature, the same is its name. And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself. Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, He took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman [“And He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man builded He into a woman,” R.V.]: and brought her to Adam. And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh” (Gen. ii. 18-24).

I. The fact that Eve was formed out of Adam, instead of being produced independently, establishes between the parents of mankind a substantial and radical unity, befitting man as the image and representative of the one God in the dominion over material nature. Again, the origin of Eve shows that in man, who is the likeness of the triune God, the communication of nature proceeds from one principle; just as in the Trinity, the communication of the Divine Nature proceeds from the Father. Both these considerations acquire more force from the fact that Eve was formed from the bone, not simply from the flesh, of Adam, --that is, from his inmost self. The Fathers, commenting on this, point out that it proves the identity of nature in man and woman, and ought to urge us to fraternal love as being all of the same kindred.

2. The Divine Law, expressed in the fact, by which the union of the sexes is consecrated as a conjugal union and by which the essence of marriage is determined, contains the following elements: --

(a) The idea and will of the Creator, as manifested by the peculiar production of Eve, is that the physical union of the sexes in the act of generation should be preceded by and founded upon a moral, juridical, and holy union of the bodies of the progenitors; a union, that is, which is sanctioned by God as the sovereign ruler of nature, and gives to each of the parties an exclusive and inviolable right over the body of the other, so that, during their union, neither can dispose of his body in favour of a third person. The Divine idea of such an union is sufficiently expressed in the act of producing Eve from the substance of Adam --as it were, a new member of the same body. The will of God that such union should exist is manifested by the fact that He Himself planned and executed the formation of Eve and handed her over to Adam as flesh of his flesh, or rather as united to him by Divine act and will. The inmost essence of marriage consists, therefore, in the moral union of man and woman. The relation between this ideal and spiritual bond on one side, and man's dignity as image of God on the other side; and, further, the possibility and necessity of this bond, will appear from the following considerations.

sub-section (a) The parties are themselves images of God, and, as such, possess moral liberty and dominion over the members of their bodies. Hence, each of them can acquire a right of disposing of the other's body, and can make it morally his own. In this manner the two bodies belong to one mind, just as though they were naturally members of the same body. This mutual transfer and appropriation of bodies, rendered possible by the power of disposal which their owners have over them, is seen to be necessary if we consider that a moral being like man can dispose and make use of nothing but what belongs to him by some right: especially in the present case, where the appropriation must be a lasting one.

From this moral and juridical point of view alone, however, we cannot perceive how the conjugal union of man and woman possesses that inviolable solidity which makes it unlawful for the contractors to break their contract even by mutual consent. The human will cannot impart to the conjugal union a solidity which almost puts it on a level with the union of members of one and the same body. The intervention of God is needed, Who, as He established the natural union of members in the body, so also established the indivisible, spiritual union of man and woman in matrimony. He intervenes as the absolute master of both bodies, and disposes of them as His own property, making each of them an organ of the spirit of the other. In the case of Adam and Eve He intervened directly, previous to any act on their part; He intervenes indirectly or mediately in subsequent marriages, acting through the will of the contracting parties. The Divine intervention gives sanctity as well as inviolability to the contract.

(sub-section (b) The reason why marriage must be considered in this fuller and higher sense is that the object of marriage is the production of an “image and likeness” of God. This entails, on the one hand, that the product of generation should come into existence as the property of God alone, and consequently as something consecrated to Him; and, on the other hand, that the carnal action of the parents cannot attain its object without a special creative co-operation on God's part, the parents acting as the instrumental cause, subordinated to Him. The two bodies united act as one organ of the Divine Spirit. Hence the progenitors, when giving each other power over their bodies, ought to consider them as the special property of God, and ought to dispose of them in His name and by His power. In this manner the moral and juridical transfer of the bodies receives, in its very essence, a religious consecration; and the unity of members resulting therefrom is endowed with the character of holiness and inviolability. It is, in a way, like the natural unity of the members of the same body, and cannot be dissolved by the mere will of the parties.

(b) It is evident that the procreation of children and carnal pleasure are not the sole objects of marriage. The fact that Eve was formed out of a rib of Adam, points to the formation of a society of personal beings, founded upon mutual respect and love, or upon the union of minds and hearts. The society of husband and wife, being the root of all other societies, is the most natural and the most intimate of all, and consequently the most complete and indissoluble. The spiritual or social aspect of the union of the sexes, as ordained by the Creator, appertains to its essence to such an extent that it can exist, not indeed without the possibility of carnal connection, but without its actual realization. Such a virginal union fulfils at least the social ends of marriage. It may even correspond with the intentions of the Creator in an eminent degree, if the parties regard their union as consecrated by and to God, and make it the means of mutual assistance for leading a holy life.

(c) Lastly, the way in which God produced the first woman points out the respective rank of husband and wife. Adam is the principle of Eve; Eve is given him as a help: hence the woman is a member and a companion of man, who, according to the Apostle, is the head of the wife (Eph. v. 23). Yet the wife is no slave or handmaid. Adam became the principle of Eve only by giving up a portion of his own substance, and Eve was made by God a help like unto Adam himself. There is, therefore, a co-ordination of interests and rights in the conjugal union: the husband is the owner of the body of the wife, and the wife is the owner of the body of her husband; respect and love are due on both sides; and the wife shares in the husband's dominion over all things that are his (See Leo XIII.'s EncycL Arcanum).

Sect. 129. --Reproduction of Human Nature.

I. Immediately after the creation of the first man and woman, God blessed them as before He had blessed the beasts: “Increase (Heb. bear fruit, i.e. generate), and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. i. 28). These words imply that the multiplication of mankind was to take place by generation --that is, by the reproduction of human nature by its first possessors. Moreover the blessing points to a special Divine co-operation in the multiplication of mankind, especially as after the creation of the plants neither blessing nor command to multiply is mentioned.

Although the blessing given to man and the blessing given to the beasts are expressed in the same terms, still there is a difference in their import. The blessing on man is followed by the commandment to subdue and rule the earth, a commandment not given to the beasts. Hence the product of human generation possesses, by virtue of the Divine blessing, an excellence, an essential perfection, not granted to the beasts. But if there is an essential difference in the product of the two generations, a similar difference necessarily exists in the two principles. In other words: God's blessing on the generation of man implies a Divine co-operation, promised neither to the beasts nor to the plants.

This conclusion is confirmed and further illustrated if we consider it in connection (1) with the Divine Idea of man (God's image and likeness) and (2) with the description given of the origin of the first man.

1. In Gen. v. I we read: “God created man, and made him to the likeness of God, ”and v. 3: “Adam begot a son to his own image and likeness; “from which it appears that, just as Adam had been made to the image of God, so, by generation, he produced offspring to his own image. In other words, the images of God were multiplied by way of generation, whence the proper object of generation is the production of an image of God. But an image of God cannot be made without a special Divine co-operation. Human generation results in an image of the progenitor and an image of God: the two are inseparable. That, however, which makes the image of the progenitor into an image of God, that whereby the nature of man is like unto the nature of God, viz. his spiritual soul, must be referred to a special, creative co-operation on God's part.

2. The preceding consideration acquires new force from the manner in which the first man was created. As the creation of Adam was different from that of lower animals, so the reproduction of Adam's nature is different from that of the beasts. The body alone of the first man was taken from the earth, and made a fit dwelling for his spiritual soul: whereas the soul was breathed into him by the Creator. In like manner, the procreative action of man only prepares a fit dwelling for the soul, which is the immediate work of God.

Holy Scripture teaches the same doctrine: “Adam knew his wife, who conceived and brought forth Cain, saying: I have gotten a man through God” (Gen. iv. I.) And again: “(Before) the dust return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God Who gave it“ (Eccles. xii. 7.)

From the close connection of the words “increase“ (be fruitful, generate) and “multiply,” it further appears that the multiplication of human nature in its entirety, viz. of material body and spiritual soul, by the command of God, shall take place in connection with the generative act of man. The act of human generation, therefore, is not intended merely to prepare a habitation for a soul already existing, nor does God create the soul independently of the act of generation. He produces it only for and in the body organized by human generation. The manner in which the first man was created throws an additional light on these propositions.

II. The question of the origin of the human soul is of great theological importance, because of its bearing on the dogmas of Original Justice, Original Sin, and Redemption. It must be solved in such a way as not to clash with the propositions just established, viz. (1) that the product of generation is the image and likeness of God, enjoying personal dignity and personal individuality; (2) that generation is a real and true reproduction and communication of the whole nature of the progenitor; and (3) that between parent and offspring there exists a relation of unity and dependence. The difficulty of a solution in harmony with so many other points of doctrine has always been recognized by the Fathers, which may account for their indecision and vagueness when dealing with it. Part of the difficulty, however, arose from an incorrect statement of the question. What we have really to inquire is the origin of man as a whole, rather than how the soul --that is, a part of the whole comes into being; and next, how far God concurs in the act of generation. As, however, the origin of the soul is the burning point of the question, and as the errors opposed to the Catholic doctrine are mainly connected with and named after it, we shall deal first with the origin of the soul.

1. False notions concerning the origin of the soul have been due chiefly to the neglect of the Divine idea of man and of the origin of the first man. These errors may be divided into two opposite classes, the truth being the mean between them.

(a) The first class contains the various opinions comprised under the general term of Generationism. This doctrine lays stress upon the fact that human generation is a real and true reproduction of the whole human nature. Starting from this, it goes on to assert that in man, as in all other living beings on earth, the generating principle ought to produce, out of and by means of itself, the spiritual soul, which is consequently as much the product of generation as the bodily organism.

(b) The second class goes by the general name of Pre-existentianism. This system insists on the spiritual independence or self-subsistent character of the soul, and consequently asserts that the origin of the soul must be entirely independent of human generation, and that, like the angels, the soul is created by God alone before the bodily organism is generated by man.

Both these systems are equally injurious to the doctrine of the Church. Generationism destroys the image of God in the soul, supposing, as it does, or at least logically leading to the conclusion, that the soul is not an independent, purely spiritual substance. At any rate, this system deprives the human soul of a privilege essential to the “image of God,” viz. that of dependence on God alone as its Cause. Pre-existentianism, on the other hand, destroys the unity of human nature: first, in the individual, by estranging the two component parts from each other; secondly, in mankind as a whole, by cutting off the individuals from a common stem. In this system, generation is not really the means of propagating mankind; it makes the origin of the image of God something distinct from the origin of man as such.

2. The doctrine opposed to the above-named errors is commonly called Creationism, although “Concreationism“ might be a better name for it, since Pre-existentianism likewise implies a kind of creation. Creationism takes as its basis the independent, spiritual substantiality of the soul, from which it argues that the soul can be produced only by creation. Human generation, in as far as it must be distinguished from creation, cannot produce anything simple. The system further affirms that God gives existence to the soul at the very moment when it is to be united to the body produced by generation, because it is primarily designed to form with that body one human nature. Creationism is neither more nor less than an explanation of the contents of two Catholic dogmas: the spirituality of the soul and the unity of nature in man. The fact that Creationism has not always been universally held in the Church, must be ascribed to the difficulty of harmonizing it with other dogmas, e.g. the transmission of sin, and also with certain expressions of Holy Scripture, e.g. that God rested on the seventh day. We find it questioned only in those times and places in which the controversies on Original Sin against the Pelagians were carried on. Doubts began to arise in the West, in the time of St. Augustine; two centuries later, when the struggle with Pelagianism was at an end, we hear of them no more.

III. Creationism solves the question of the origin the human soul, but not that of the origin of human nature by generation, at least not completely. On the contrary, it introduces a new difficulty, inasmuch as the creation of the soul by God divides the production of man into two acts, and makes it more difficult to see how human generation is a reproduction and communication of the whole nature and especially of life, and how there is a relation of dependence between the souls of children and those of their parents. This difficulty, much insisted upon by the Generationists, can only be removed by maintaining, not indeed the production of one soul by another through emanation or creation, but a certain relation of causality whereby the souls of the parents are, in a certain sense, the principle of the souls of the children. Here, as in the co-existence of grace and free will, we have two principles combined for the production of one effect. In order to understand the combined action of God and of man in the production of the human soul, we must bear in mind that the creation of the soul, although a true creation, is not the creation of a being complete in itself: on the contrary, its tendency is to produce that part of the human nature which is destined to give form and life to the body and to constitute with it one human nature. But as this also applies to the creation of the first soul, which was not the product of generation, we must add this other circumstance --that the soul is created in an organic body because of the action of the human generative principle. So far we have two principles and two activities standing side by side and meeting in one common product, but we have not yet that unity of the principles, whereby not only a part, but even the whole, of the product may be ascribed to each of them. Such a unity is established by the fact that each of the principles, although producing by its own power only part of the product, tends, nevertheless, to produce the whole product as a whole: the generative principle producing the organism solely for the purpose of being animated by the soul; the creative principle creating the soul merely for the purpose of animating the organism.

The following considerations will help to illustrate the unity of the combined Divine and human actions. Each of the two actions requires the co-operation of the other in order to attain its object: they thus complete one another and are intrinsically co-ordained for common action. As man has received his procreative power and its direction from God, and exercises it with the Divine concurrence, in the act of generation he stands to God as a subordinate and dependent instrument; not, however, as a mere tool, because man's generative power and tendency are natural to him, and are exercised spontaneously. Whence it appears that the common action begins with man, but is supported throughout and completed by God. This Divine co-operation might be called supernatural in as far as it is distinct from and superior to the Divine concurrence granted to all created causes; but, strictly speaking, it is only natural, because it is exercised in accordance with a law of nature. The production of the soul is due not to a miraculous interference with the course of nature, but to the natural Providence of God, carrying out the laws which He Himself has framed for the regular course of nature.

We can now easily understand (1) how human generation is a true generation not only of the flesh but of man as a whole; (2) how a relation of causality exists between the progenitor and the soul of his offspring; (3) how the creation of the soul by God is not a creation in the same absolute sense as the original creation of things; (4) how the natural consequences of generation are safe-guarded.

IV. The Divine co-operation in human generation elevates human paternity to the highest degree of dignity, for the human father is admitted to participate in the Divine paternity; like God, “the Father of spirits“ (Heb. xii. 9), he gives origin to and has authority over a personal and immortal being, the image of God. Paternal authority thus receives a religious and sacred character, possessed by no other authority on earth except that of the Church, which is founded upon similar principles. Again, the children belong not so much to the parents as to God, Who gives them to the parents as a sacred pledge. Practically, then, as well as theoretically, the Divine origin of the soul is a doctrine of the greatest importance. The gravity of the sins against chastity becomes more apparent when considered in the light of this doctrine: they imply a sacrilegious abuse of members and actions which are destined exclusively to the service of God. See I Cor. vi. 15, 16.

Sect. 130. --Descent of all Mankind from one Pair of Progenitors, and the consequent Unity of the Human Race.

I. The blessing of multiplication, bestowed by God on Adam and Eve, shows not only that the human race was to be propagated by way of generation, but also that it was to spring from the pair who received the blessing. No mention whatever is made of any other progenitors, and it is distinctly stated that by multiplying their kind Adam and Eve were to “fill the earth,” and exercise over the earth that dominion which is implied in the Divine Idea of man. Eve is called “the mother of all the living“ (Gen. iii. 20), and Adam “the father of the world,” who “was created alone” (Wisd. x. i). St. Paul told the Athenians on Mars' Hill that “God hath made of one all mankind, to dwell upon the whole face of the earth“ (Acts xvii. 26). Upon this doctrine the Apostle bases his teaching on Original Sin and Redemption (Rom. v.).

It is the province of Apologetics to deal with the difficulties raised against this dogma by modern unbelievers. To overthrow the historical evidence in favour of the descent of all mankind from one pair, science must demonstrate the impossibility of such descent. But the fact that marriages between members of the most different races are prolific, proves that they all belong to the same species and that their origin from a single pair of progenitors is
possible.

II. In the Divine Plan of Creation the unity of origin in mankind is intended, first of all, to secure and manifest the perfect unity of the human species. A specific unity is, indeed, conceivable even without unity of origin; but, considering the great diversity existing among the several races of men, their specific unity would not be so manifest without the unity of origin. Again, the unity of origin gives to all individuals of the human species a sameness of nature which forms them into a species ultima --that is to say, into a species not further divisible. As a matter of fact, when the heathens lost the idea of the common origin of mankind, they took up false notions of human society. With them male and female, Greek and barbarian, bond and free, were beings of different natures. It is easily seen why, according to the Divine Idea of man as the visible image of God on earth, human nature must possess the strictest specific unity. Set over all visible things and made only a little lower than the angels, man is the connecting link between the double cosmos, a position which he could not hold if his nature was sub-divided into several species like the lower animals and the angels.

The full significance of the unity of origin lies, however, less in the unity of nature and species consequent upon it, than in the fact that it unites mankind into one family with one head, thus establishing between all men an organic or living unity. Specific unity by itself renders possible only a society of equals, whereas the unity existing in a family constitutes a natural bond between its members, which bond is the natural foundation of the unity of destiny, of the duty of mutual assistance, and of the possibility of solidarity between humanity as a whole on one side, and God on the other. The family union of men strengthens the ties of universal brotherhood which exists between them as like creatures of the same God; it is also the essential condition of the solidarity in grace and sin which exists between the first parent and all his descendants, and likewise of the solidarity in the merits of Redemption which exists between all mankind and Christ, the Second Adam and Head of the Supernatural Order.

Sect. 131. --Division and Order of the Vital Forces in Man.

I. As man is a microcosmos, we can distinguish in his nature three different degrees of life. The first is vegetative life, which performs the functions of nutrition, growth, and propagation, and is common to man, animal, and plant. Next comes sensitive life, made up of the knowledge obtained through the senses and of the tendencies or appetites connected therewith; this life is common to man and animal. Lastly, we have the intellectual or spiritual life, consisting in intellectual knowledge and volitions directed by the intellect. This life man has in common with God and with the angels; it is the highest order of life in man, the object and the rule of the other vital functions.

II. Qualities or privileges which Divine liberality freely gave to man at his creation, or which Divine justice had bound itself to confer upon him by reason of his supernatural end, do not belong to human nature: because they do not necessarily flow from the human essence, or constituent principles. On the other hand, the nature of man contains not only the vital perfections which elevate him above the brute creation and make him the image of God, but also the imperfections inherent in the lower degrees of life. Human Nature, considered apart from the elevating influence of God and the deteriorating influence of sin, but with the perfections and imperfections necessarily connected with the human substance, is called by the Schoolmen nature pure and simple. Even after the Fall, the nature of man is still what it was when first created; all the essential perfections of the original nature continue to be transmitted, and all the imperfections of nature in its present state already existed, at least radically, in the original nature. This doctrine was denied by the Reformers, who held an essential and intrinsic difference between human nature as it was before, and as it is after, the Fall.

SECT. 132. --The Spiritual Side of Human Nature.

I. The Catholic Church teaches that the human soul possesses, by reason of the act of creation, an active force and tendency to lead a moral and religious life, in accordance with the soul's essential character of image of God. Catholics consider the moral and religious life of the soul as the exercise of a faculty essential to the soul, or as a natural result of its constituent principles; whereas the Reformers held that the soul was merely a subject capable of receiving from outside the imprint of the Divine image. The Catholic sees the image of God in natural man, independently of supernatural influence; the Protestant sees in natural man only a subject intended to be made an image of God by a further Divine action. The Catholic doctrine is plainly founded upon reason. Every substance, and especially every living substance, is itself the active principle of the activity natural to its species; hence the spiritual soul must be the radical principle of its entire natural activity. The life of the soul, being rooted in its essence and substance, cannot be lost while the substance is not destroyed; and since all human souls have the same essence and are similarly created by God, what is true of the souls of our first parents likewise applies to the souls of all their posterity. The perfect development, however, of the religious and moral faculty, may be impeded through the absence of external aid or of self-exertion, or by positive hindrances, and thus the image of God in the soul may be deprived of its perfection and disfigured by unnatural stains.

We may appeal also to Holy Scripture. “The image and likeness of God“ is the result of the creation of man; and even after the Fall, he is still defined as the image and likeness of God. The likeness being the perfection of the image, it is evident that, before and after the Fall, the substance and essence and the nature of man remained the same. In other words, man is the image of God and is able to live the life of an image of God by virtue of the constituent principles of his nature, and not merely by virtue of qualities or faculties which may be added to and taken from his nature.

II. The above general principle includes the following special conclusions.

1. The human soul possesses, as an essential constituent principle of its reasonable nature, power to acquire by itself the knowledge of God, of the relations between Creator and Creature, and consequently of the moral order as based upon Divine Law (Rom. i. 20; ii. 14, 15). This living force develops itself, to a certain degree, spontaneously, so that a knowledge of God is gained as soon as the mind develops itself.

2. The human soul likewise possesses, as an essential constituent of its will, a living force and tendency to love and worship spiritual beings, and, above all, God. As the knowledge of God is the natural perfection of reason, so the love and worship of Him is the natural perfection of the will; without the innate power to love God, the soul would be mutilated. Again, the soul, the image of God, has a natural relationship with Him; consequently a tendency to love Him is as natural to the soul as the tendency to love itself and other reasonable beings. The soul would be unnatural indeed if by nature it had the power to love only itself and other creatures. This power is first felt in involuntary emotions of complacency and esteem which follow the knowledge of God and influence the voluntary acts of love; it is most manifest in the sense of the duty to love and serve God. This sense of duty is but a sense of love and reverence for God and His ordinances, which forces itself upon the soul even against its free will. The development, however, of this root can be hindered still more than the development of the knowledge of God. It has to contend with free will and with many other tendencies of human nature; it may be stunted to such a degree that it becomes morally unable to produce an act of love effectively placing God above all other things. Yet in itself it is indestructible, because it is part of the soul's nature; and even the most hardened sinner feels the unrest caused by the consciousness that he acts against the natural rectitude of his will. See below, the treatises on Original Sin and Grace.

3. The faculty and tendency of the human will to love and respect rational beings, and especially God, implies that the freedom of the will is not only physical but also moral; that is to say, man has not only the power to determine his own and other forces, and to direct them to an end (physical liberty), but also the power of willing them for the sake of their own goodness and of directing them to a moral end, and consequently the power of rejecting and avoiding sin as such (moral liberty). The human will is thus an image of the Divine Will in a twofold manner: first, in as far as the Divine Will disposes its external acts and works with consciousness and with a plan; secondly, in as far as God is Himself the ultimate object of all His actions and volitions. Of course, the exercise of moral liberty is not as essential to man as to God. By abusing his physical liberty man is able to suspend the exercise of his moral liberty, and even to render its further use almost impossible. The moral energy of man is the foundation of every further influence in the form of illumination and assistance coming from God; without such foundation in the soul itself, man could not personally co-operate with the Divine influence.

(a) In its general idea, moral liberty does not at all imply the faculty of choosing between good and evil. It simply consists in the radical power to will the morally good as such, for the sake of its dignity and worth, and to consciously direct the acts of the will to their moral end. In the concise language of the Schoolmen, it is the power of willing what is right because it is right. The greater this power, the greater is moral liberty. It is greatest in God, where it manifests itself as the immutable power to will the morally good immutably; where, consequently, the will is necessarily inclined to what is good only. God possesses this attribute essentially, so that He is as essentially holy as He is essentially free. But creatures also should attain such liberty by the means of grace, which clarifies their will through the caritas gloriae, and elevates them to the “freedom of the sons of God.”

(b) Moral liberty, in the above general sense, is essential to the human will, and is part of the natural image of God. But the positive power to will what is morally good, if not clarified by grace or fixed by a previous persevering determination, is essentially coupled with the power not to will what is good and to will evil instead; it is “a power to will what is right, together with the power not to will what is right “or “to turn away from what is right.” This power, then, in man, is affected by a deficiency in determination for what is good, and by the possibility of willing evil. The human will, belonging to a being created out of nothing, does not possess by reason of its essence all the perfection of which it is capable. Again, as it is the will of a being distinct from God, it may have special interests, by which it may be led to refuse God the respect due to Him.

(c) If, notwithstanding its inherent imperfection, the positive power to will what is morally good is to be a true and real power, it must be conceived as “a power of the will to elect the good and to reject the evil by its own free determination,” which stamps it as “a moral elective faculty.” In as far as moral liberty in man exerts itself only as an elective faculty, requiring to be determined, it is imperfect and implies a dissimilarity to God, Whose will is essentially inclined to the supreme good. But, in as far as it is still able to exert itself in this manner, and has the power to annul its indetermination by its own decision, it has a peculiar similarity to Divine liberty. This power enables man not only to acquire, possess, and preserve moral goodness, but also to make it his own by his own exertions, just as it is God's own by His essence, and thus to deserve for it praise and reward, just as God, for His goodness, deserves the highest honour. Moral liberty, in this same sense, is also the condition not the principle of moral guilt, placing, as it does, face to face with the faculty of electing evil, the power of resisting and avoiding it, so that evil cannot be chosen except on condition that the will renounces the use of its power of resistance.

(d) The likeness of moral liberty in man to God's liberty, according to what has been said, consists, not in man's power of doing evil, but his power of avoiding the evil proposed to his choice.

(e) The power to choose what is morally good is not given to man in such a way that, before the choice takes place, there is in him no inclination or direction towards what is good, and, consequently, no goodness bestowed on him by the Creator independently of man's free election. On the contrary, such choice would be impossible unless man already possessed a tendency to good. The actual goodness of the will is but the fruit of the habitual goodness received from God; the object of the choice is not the “first production of moral goodness, but the development and the exercise of the goodness already bestowed on the soul by the Creator.

Man's free will, being founded upon a tendency granted by God, can only operate dependently on God; it has an essential tendency to view all moral good as willed and commanded by God, and to seek after it as such, for the sake of the high respect due to God and His law, and especially to direct the will on God as its ultimate object. From this point of view, moral liberty is “a power to will what is right, according to God and for God's own sake.” Considered specially as an elective faculty, it consists in this, that man, by his own election, gives to God that homage which is due to Him as to the Giver of moral liberty and the Author of the fruits springing from its root.

Sect. 133. --The Animal Side of Man's Nature.

I. Although the soul which animates the human body differs essentially from the principle which gives life to the lower animals, and although the soul, by means of its spiritual functions, exercises control over the body and its life: still, the animal and vegetative life of the body of man is subject to physical laws. Man and animal have in common not only the abstract concept of “animal life,” but also its concrete mode of existence, its status and conditions. The imperfections which Holy Scripture sums up under the name of “infirmity of the flesh“ have their origin in the animal part of man. The spiritual soul informs the body in the same manner as the vital principle informs the bodies of mere animals, viz. in such a way as to endow the body with a life in keeping with its nature. The soul does not spiritualize the body, or give it the impassibility and incorruptibility proper to spirits; it does not even absolutely control all the bodily motions and tendencies. By the mere fact of creation, then, and not on account of any subsequent derangement, the animal life of man is naturally subject to the imperfections of animal life in general.

Holy Scripture offers a foundation for this doctrine when it teaches that the body, taken from the earth, was, through the inbreathing of a spiritual soul, made into “a living soul“ --that is, received the life proper to its own earthly nature. This is the argument of St. Paul (i Cor. xv. 44 sqq.), who further deduces from the earthly origin of man his infirmities and corruptibility.

II. The general principle just laid down contains the following special propositions: --

1. The constitution of the human body subjects it to the laws and conditions of existence and development which rule the life of plants and animals, viz. the laws of nutrition, growth, and reproduction. The first characteristic, then, which distinguishes the animal body from the pure spirit is this very necessity of taking something from without for its sustenance, a necessity which appears most clearly in the functions of respiration.

2. The fact that life is dependent on a continual supply of external nourishment, shows that increase, decrease, and extinction are natural to it. The tree of life, provided by God for our first parents, bore indeed a food which would have prevented the extinction of life. But to partake of the fruit of life would only have averted the natural necessity of decay and death. Left to its natural resources, the immortal soul of man would not have been able to secure immortality for the body. Again, the words of the Divine curse, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return,” point clearly to the fact that death was due to the Fall only inasmuch as man, by reason of his sin, was left to his natural corruptibility. The possibility and necessity of death are, therefore, natural attributes, flowing from the very constitution of human nature. By a positive Divine disposition they were suspended until the first sin was committed.

3. The spiritual essence of the soul in like manner cannot prevent the internal and external disturbances of the vital functions which lead to pain and suffering. The possibility of suffering was certainly the same in our first parents as in us; God alone, by supernatural intervention, was able to prevent this possibility from passing into actuality.

4. Vegetative life in plants and animals is subject to a passibilty which, in the former, appears as corruption of their substance, in the latter as pain and suffering. On a level with these phenomena the Fathers place that possibility which is peculiar to the sensitive life of man and animals. It consists in the sensitive faculties being affected in anticipation or even in spite of reason. Such motions are rightly called “passions,” because they result from an impulse received on the ground of some subjective want, and are more or less dependent on the excitability of the bodily organism. Of course, a positive force is required for action at the reception of the objective impulse; the imperfection of the sensitive faculty lies both in the inability to act without such impulse, and in the necessity to act in accordance with it. This passive excitability of the appetitive faculties of animal life is described by St. Augustine as a weakness and idleness of nature, or as a quality of nature.

Catholic doctrine and sound philosophy alike demand that the appetitive faculties of sensitive life in man should occupy an inferior position. Reason should rule over passion as far as possible by controlling inordinate desires, and by refusing the use of the body for wrong purposes. This refusal is always in the power of rational will, for the power of man over the external motions of his body is despotic, whereas his power over his desires is only politic, or, as we now say, constitutional. Although the motions of concupiscence are due to the infirmity of human nature, the soul cannot get rid of this infirmity, because the influence of the soul, as form of the body, is like the influence of non-spiritual forms; the life it gives is animal life with all its concomitant perfections and imperfections.

5. It is thus evident that, by the very constitution of his nature, man is liable to spontaneous motions in his sensitive tendencies, over which the will has, at best, but little control. In other words, concupiscence is an attribute of human nature. In animals which have no reason, concupiscence is the mainspring of activity; it is in harmony with their whole nature, whereas in man it is a disturbing element in the higher life of the soul. The subjection to concupiscence in man belongs to the same order as the possibility and necessity of death and of physical pain, viz. to passibility and corruptibility in animal life.

6. The nature of the animal body asserts itself most in the manifestations of the sexual instinct. These are the most impetuous; they are accompanied by spontaneous motions of the flesh, and are the least controllable by reason. This peculiarity is accounted for on the ground that the functions of vegetative life, to which the sexual instinct belongs, are carried out independently of the will. Another and better ground is, that the object of this instinct is the preservation, rather than the multiplication, of the race, so that by satisfying it the mortal individual secures to itself the only immortality it can attain, viz. a continued existence in individuals of its own kind. Inasmuch, then, as the human body shared with other earthly beings the faculty of propagation as well as the necessity of death, it was but natural that it should also share with them the morbid excitability of the most natural of instincts. Again, no other domain of life brings out better the contrast between the spiritual and the animal faculties of the soul. The “law of death” in the manifestations of the sexual instinct is so strong that in their presence the soul loses command over the motions, and almost over the very use, of the body. The imperfection and lowness of its animal life is thus strongly brought home to the soul, and the contrast with its nobler spiritual life may account for the sense of shame inseparable from sexual excitement.

III. Thus all the imperfections and defects to be found in the animal part of man are not the result of the destruction and perversion of man's original state, but the necessary natural result of the constitution of human nature. The objections raised against the Catholic doctrine are based upon misconception or misrepresentation. To answer them in detail would lead to a needless repetition of the propositions contained in this chapter.

Sect. 134. --The Natural Imperfections or the Animal Character of the Spiritual Life (“ratio inferior“) in Man, and its Consequences,

I. The union with a passible and corruptible body entails upon the spiritual soul a certain imperfection and weakness, in consequence of which the soul's own life is subject to gradual increase, and is dependent on external influences; and, unlike the life of pure spirits, is in many ways hindered in its free and full development. “The corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presseth down the mind that museth upon many things“ (Wisd. ix. 15). The chief cause of this is, that the animal life and the animal side of the spiritual life both exercise a disturbing influence upon the higher reason. The imperfection of man's spiritual life, arising from its dependence on animal life, may fitly be styled an “animal quality” of the spiritual life. In fact, St. Paul (i Cor. ii. 14) sums up all the imperfections of natural man in the term “animal man” (Greek) In the mind of the Apostle, this is intended to explain why man, on the whole, (i.e. with his spiritual as well as his animal nature), has no sense of the supernatural, and is even, to a certain extent, opposed to it. Now this expression is connected with the argument in chap, xv., ver. 45, of the same epistle, where it is stated that the first man was created as “living soul“ (in Greek). Hence, as the argument in chap. xv. is evidently taken from the account of man's creation in Genesis, so also is the argument in chap. ii.; from which it further follows that, according to St. Paul, the imperfections of our spiritual life flow from the original constitution of our nature.

II. Intellectual knowledge, the noblest function of the soul, is derived from and supported by the knowledge acquired through the senses. Hence it is less clear and its attainment is more difficult than in the case of pure spirits; and its indistinctness and difficulty increase the more it is removed from the domain of the senses. Thus the difficulty of acquiring and retaining distinct notions is greater in the higher reason than in the lower, because in the latter the subject-matter of knowledge is always either directly afforded by the senses or is at least illustrated by mental images of the imagination. Consequently, although the soul possesses a spiritual light enabling it to know moral and religious truths, yet the acquisition of a full and certain knowledge of such truths is beset with many difficulties, so that many moral precepts may be either unknown or misunderstood ( § 3). This imperfection constitutes what theologians call “malum ignorantiae.” The knowledge even when acquired by the superior reason, is exposed to the disturbing influence of the lower orders of cognition. In case of conflict, the lower knowledge and the motions of concupiscence accompanying it are apt to obscure and disturb the intellect.

III. The will is naturally inclined to the good and the beautiful, and, therefore, to the love and esteem of God; but it is also naturally inclined to seek its own good, and, therefore, is greatly moved by love of self. Self-love is no disturbing element in the will of pure spirits, because their superior and accurate knowledge enables them to esteem everything at its exact moral value; hence, in the conflict between self-love and love of God, the former never can be an inducement to wrong. In man, on the contrary, self-love is handicapped with the weakness and passibility of the human organism; the human will is attracted and affected by its own good, before reason has a chance to estimate the moral value of such good, and the attraction and affection persist even when condemned by higher reason. This state of things has its explanation in the mode of working of our organism. The sensitive faculties are moved before the intellectual, and, by reason of the sympathy between the various faculties, anticipating the judgment of the intellect, they awaken in the will the so-called condelectation --that is, they incline the will towards their own sensible object. Again, the lower reason, preceding the action of the higher intellect and supported by the imagination, directly excites in the will affections and desires for sensible goods, regardless of their moral value. In both cases the will is moved passively, just as the sensitive appetites are moved in all their acts. In both cases, also, a conflict between such motions of the will and the judgment of the higher reason is possible; and the act of the will, dictated by such judgment, is not always able to repress or subdue the sensual allurements. Thus the passibility of the will, which results from the very fact of its union with a corruptible body, establishes between the higher and lower regions of mental life the same antagonism which exists between the rational and the sensitive appetitive faculties.

The natural inclination for good is the spring which moves moral liberty. Hence the weakness of the will, as just described, constitutes a weakness in our moral liberty, inasmuch as it places obstacles in the way of its free exercise. Compared to that of angels, man's free will is “attenuated and bent.” and not only defective in its action, but likewise subject to corruption. If Divine aid does not suspend its weakness, it is under a certain moral necessity of sinning, in as far as it is morally impossible for it always to resist the inclination to evil. Nay, more, if with St. Augustine we take the “perfection of justice” to consist in the avoidance of, and freedom from, all evil inclinations, involuntary as well as voluntary, man is under a physical necessity of sinning; but then “sin” must be taken in the very general sense of imperfection or moral shortcoming.

IV. All the imperfections hitherto set down as resulting from the constitution of human nature, or from the union of a spiritual soul with a corruptible body, are defects in the realization of the Divine idea of man as the visible image of God; or rather, are defects of the likeness to God in His visible image.

* That human nature should imperfectly represent the Divine Ideal is not to be wondered at. The idea of a visible image of God is realized in a being partly spiritual, partly material, which, on account of its animal nature, cannot be as like to God as a pure spirit (see, however, § 125). Hence the perfect likeness of man to God can only be attained by spiritualizing the animal part --that is, by converting the “animal man“ into a “spiritual man.” Neither is it a matter of wonder that man, the centre of creation and the connecting link between the higher and lower orders of creatures, is, by virtue of that nature alone, less able than the pure spirits above him and the pure animals below him to comply with the exigencies of his position and to reach his ultimate destination. It would be highly unwarrantable to require that man should have been so constituted as to be able, by his natural constitution alone, to perfectly realize the Divine Ideal. On the contrary, the natural imperfection of man's nature, as well as its wonderful composition, offer the Creator an opportunity of glorifying Himself in man in quite a peculiar manner, viz. partly by supernaturally correcting the defects of human nature, partly by assisting man in his conflict against them. The disproportion, therefore, between God's work and the Divine ideal is not due to a defect in the Divine wisdom, power, and goodness, but is meant to give occasion for a special manifestation of these attributes.


Sect. 135. --Natural Destiny of Rational Creatures Their Position in the Universe.

I. The qualities of rational beings sufficiently indicate that they are destined to a higher end than irrational creatures. Made to the image and likeness of God, they are able and are destined to glorify God and to work out their own happiness. In as far as this destination is made possible and is required by their nature, and in as far as its attainment realizes only the minimum of the idea which God was bound to have when creating rational beings, it is called “the natural destination or end of rational creatures.” In the same way, the dispositions necessarily made by God for the attainment of this end are called “the natural order of rational creatures.”

The supernatural order, which is the object of theology, cannot be rightly understood without an exact and well-defined notion of the natural order upon which the supernatural is based.

1. The natural final destiny of rational creatures involves, first of all, that they are necessarily called to an eternal, personal, and individual life, and, consequently, to everlasting existence, at least in their spiritual part. Their spiritual substance is in itself incorruptible and indestructible, and this natural excellence makes them essentially worthy of eternal conservation on the part of God. The immortality of the soul has been defined by the Fifth Council of Lateran. Reason alone, however, can also prove it. The destination of rational creatures to glorify God is in itself an eternal object; moreover, a happiness corresponding with the natural aspirations of rational beings could not be realized for one moment if its perpetual duration was not guaranteed.

2. The second element in the final destination natural to rational creatures is that they should not remain for ever in a state of motion and unrest, but should, unless they make themselves unworthy of it, enter into a state of definitive, everlasting perfection, in which they are made like to God, and thus secure perfect rest and complete satisfaction of all their natural aspirations --in one word, their salvation. To make salvation secure, it is also necessary that the will of the saved should be exempt from the danger of sinning.

3. The measure and the kind of final perfection naturally attainable by rational creatures must be determined in accordance with their essential active forces, because their final perfection is a complete and permanent development of these forces. Nothing can be naturally intended for a state which it cannot attain by the forces of its own nature. But everything that tends to its perfection by exercising its forces and thus developing itself, is dependent partly on a supply of external nourishment, partly on the fostering influence of God. Hence it is not impossible that the final perfecting of rational creatures, whose intellectual life is under a direct Divine influence, should require a special intervention on the part of God. This intervention, however, can only consist in help given to the positive development of the forces existing in nature, which may take place by the simple removal of all the obstacles by which their working is now impeded. Consequently the knowledge and love of God, which make up the substance of natural blessedness, are only such as the created intellect and will can attain without the aid of supernatural illumination and elevation.

4. The attainment of final perfection is proposed by God to His rational creatures as a reward for their own exertions. Nevertheless, except in the case of a special promise on the part of God, the creature has no strict right to a reward. The creature's title to a reward is founded upon the right which they who live up to the excellence of their nature have to the attainment of such perfection as their nature is able and is destined to attain. The claim is natural in so far, and only in so far, as God, by giving a rational nature, gives or promises everything necessary to its development.

II. These considerations lead us to the concept of the “natural order,” in which rational creatures are placed by the very fact of creation. The root, or fundamental principle, of the natural order is, that creatures endowed with reason are destined to receive their final perfection in God and through God to the extent required by their character of rational creatures and creatures of God. Formally, the order consists in the dispositions or, ordinances made by God for the attainment by creatures of their natural end, i.e. the laws which govern the operations of creatures, and those which God Himself observes in leading them to their final perfection. Materially, the order consists in the goods either bestowed by God on creatures as means to their final complement, or acquired, produced, or utilized by them in carrying out the laws of their order. It should be noted, however, that, within the limits of the natural order, some scope is left as to the use of means to the end, so that God, without going against the established order, can intervene positively and even supernaturally.

It is an error, unhappily widespread in recent times, to hold that the order of rational creatures actually in force is nothing but the natural order. Such, however, is not the fact. In the beginning God set before His rational creatures a supernatural end, and placed them in a supernatural relation to Himself, and thus founded the supernatural order. This order, after being disturbed by sin, could only be restored by the still greater mystery of the elevation of human nature to a personal union with the Son of God.


Home