I Dont Have Enough Faith to be an Evolutionist - Skepticism of Evolution
(09-14-2019, 12:22 PM)Alphonse il Segundo Wrote:
Quote:meaning concupiscence rather than referring to their actual physical bodies, which they undeniably possessed in Paradise.

And maybe I am in the wrong about this, but I firmly disagree with that interpretation of what the fall did to nature. I think thorns and brambles are natural and part of God's creation. 

It seems relevant to say that this gives sin the power to "evolve" new plants and animals.

I don't see how distorting or changing the nature of a thing "evolves" it? If there was no change to the nature or essence of our first parents, then what exactly did Christ redeem? If He did not restore our nature to that of pre-Edenic existence, because we have always been exactly how modern man is, then what purpose was there to any sort of Redemptive sacrifice?

To say that sin evolves things would mean that things do not have a nature to begin with. To say that sin can alter a thing's nature does not mean it evolves into something completely different. Rather, it distorts the perfections of that nature into something imperfect. St Gregory, then, would be correct in stating that there was some change in the concupiscence and bodies of Adam and Eve after the Fall.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

"modern Catholics have tended to put too much faith in the pope and too little in the Church." - Bishop Williamson.

"And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Mt. 10:28
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(09-14-2019, 11:19 AM)Augustinian Wrote: It's a result of a change in nature, which is exactly what sin does. Thorns and brambles were not something present in Paradise, but once Adam and Eve fell, then they were introduced through a corruption of the nature of things due to sin.

In Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy a Nature is also an Essence or Formal Cause. It is what make a thing to be what it is. It is that principle from which flow actions proper to that nature (Agere sequitur esse). This corresponds to the universal concept which does not exist really in itself, but exists really in each thing which possess said nature. This makes those things to be able to be placed into species and genera and it makes it possible for us to know them deeply in their essence. Thus I see a tree and because all trees have the nature of tree, I know something about them. I see a man and I know he is a man just like any other being which has this nature. I see a dog and I can identify him as a dog.

The only alternative to asserting that these universals is Nominalism. That there are no universals only "names" which we arbitrarily give to things.

The problem with asserting that by sin that the nature of man was changed is to assert that he is no longer a man. Luther, too asserted this, and it is heretical.

Further, to change the nature of a thing is not something that even God does, and to assert that even God would change the nature of a thing would undermine his Wisdom and Providence.

If Adam had a different nature before and after sin, then he was not a man, and became a man by sin, or he was a man and by sin became something totally different.

The Catholic explanation is that sin wounded human nature. That by sin man's nature does not operate well. Sin introduced a disorder or indisposition to man's nature, but did not fundamentally change that nature.

The even further problem is that if man's nature changed by sin, then either Our Lord is sinless and therefore not man, or he too is a sinner, and truly man. Either is a heresy.

Sin does not corrupt nature (again a heresy). It wounds our nature, making it indisposed to operate well. Grace, like medicine, help it to function properly.

Thorns and brambles existed outside of paradise, else then Creation did not end with day six.

And how could the wounding of one nature cause the change in the nature of other things? That would again, suggest that sin has more power than God, who cannot do this.

The principle which theologians like Fr Garrigou-Lagrange would assert is that "What is natural to man is neither acquired nor forfeited by sin".

(09-14-2019, 11:19 AM)Augustinian Wrote: The Fall had a fundamental effect on not just the spiritual state of man, but the essences of all created things as corruption and death entered the world through Adam.

Scripture only suggests that human death entered the world because of sin. There is no reason to assert that animal and plant death did not precede Original Sin. In fact, there is good reason to think such death did.

Death is natural for material creatures, and again, by the extension of the same principle above, what is natural is not added or removed by sin. It is natural because the tendency of material things which are composed of parts is to break into parts, to wear out. Along said lines, we can see that the death of certain creature is necessary for the life of others.

How did lions eat? They are simply incapable of eating anything but other animals. They lack essential amino acids and nutrients which cannot be had except through eating the flesh of other animals. So if there were no animal death before sin, there would no lions, unless we posit miracles, which again, undermines God's Providence and Wisdom. This would be to assert that sin caused a perfection in an animal, which is absurd.

What about bacteria and scavengers. These feed on dead things, some only on animal flesh.

In order to assert that animal and plant death only began with the Fall, is to assert that sin destroyed the entire universal order, which again, suggests that sin undermines God's power, Providence and Wisdom, which is not only heretical but blasphemous.

*** Edited to add : To be clear Augustine, I'm not saying that you're blaspheming or saying heretical things, but trying to show the problems with the assertion you make if taken to their logical conclusions. ***
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(09-15-2019, 01:45 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(09-14-2019, 11:19 AM)Augustinian Wrote: It's a result of a change in nature, which is exactly what sin does. Thorns and brambles were not something present in Paradise, but once Adam and Eve fell, then they were introduced through a corruption of the nature of things due to sin.

In Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy a Nature is also an Essence or Formal Cause. It is what make a thing to be what it is. It is that principle from which flow actions proper to that nature (Agere sequitur esse). This corresponds to the universal concept which does not exist really in itself, but exists really in each thing which possess said nature. This makes those things to be able to be placed into species and genera and it makes it possible for us to know them deeply in their essence. Thus I see a tree and because all trees have the nature of tree, I know something about them. I see a man and I know he is a man just like any other being which has this nature. I see a dog and I can identify him as a dog.

The only alternative to asserting that these universals is Nominalism. That there are no universals only "names" which we arbitrarily give to things.

The problem with asserting that by sin that the nature of man was changed is to assert that he is no longer a man. Luther, too asserted this, and it is heretical.

Further, to change the nature of a thing is not something that even God does, and to assert that even God would change the nature of a thing would undermine his Wisdom and Providence.

If Adam had a different nature before and after sin, then he was not a man, and became a man by sin, or he was a man and by sin became something totally different.

The Catholic explanation is that sin wounded human nature. That by sin man's nature does not operate well. Sin introduced a disorder or indisposition to man's nature, but did not fundamentally change that nature.

The even further problem is that if man's nature changed by sin, then either Our Lord is sinless and therefore not man, or he too is a sinner, and truly man. Either is a heresy.

Sin does not corrupt nature (again a heresy). It wounds our nature, making it indisposed to operate well. Grace, like medicine, help it to function properly.

Thorns and brambles existed outside of paradise, else then Creation did not end with day six.

And how could the wounding of one nature cause the change in the nature of other things? That would again, suggest that sin has more power than God, who cannot do this.

The principle which theologians like Fr Garrigou-Lagrange would assert is that "What is natural to man is neither acquired nor forfeited by sin".

(09-14-2019, 11:19 AM)Augustinian Wrote: The Fall had a fundamental effect on not just the spiritual state of man, but the essences of all created things as corruption and death entered the world through Adam.

Scripture only suggests that human death entered the world because of sin. There is no reason to assert that animal and plant death did not precede Original Sin. In fact, there is good reason to think such death did.

Death is natural for material creatures, and again, by the extension of the same principle above, what is natural is not added or removed by sin. It is natural because the tendency of material things which are composed of parts is to break into parts, to wear out. Along said lines, we can see that the death of certain creature is necessary for the life of others.

How did lions eat? They are simply incapable of eating anything but other animals. They lack essential amino acids and nutrients which cannot be had except through eating the flesh of other animals. So if there were no animal death before sin, there would no lions, unless we posit miracles, which again, undermines God's Providence and Wisdom. This would be to assert that sin caused a perfection in an animal, which is absurd.

What about bacteria and scavengers. These feed on dead things, some only on animal flesh.

In order to assert that animal and plant death only began with the Fall, is to assert that sin destroyed the entire universal order, which again, suggests that sin undermines God's power, Providence and Wisdom, which is not only heretical but blasphemous.

*** Edited to add : To be clear Augustine, I'm not saying that you're blaspheming or saying heretical things, but trying to show the problems with the assertion you make if taken to their logical conclusions. ***

Yes, and I made an error in my distinctions here, which I apologize for. What I should have emphasized is that sin does not change the essence itself of a thing, which as you noted is erroneous, but that sin changes the accidental nature of that thing so that it is defective. And this idea is rooted in the notion of the integral good, where that all things God creates are wholly good. To have any sort of defect is to introduce a lack of good in some aspect of that thing, which would be an accidental defect of its nature rather than, as I erroneously held, a change of the integral nature of the thing itself.

Now, the point I was trying to make with the Fall is that there is this accidental change in the nature of creatures due to sin, not due to the actions of God, in which all of His actions are perfect per the integral good. Now, the issue arises with theistic evolution, and especially that of neo-Thomists who accept this position, is that of a rejection of this integral good. To say that God utilizes evolution in any such way is to say that God purposely created things to have defects and that He created, or introduced, death into the world.

Now, the way that things outside of the good are introduced into the world, such as thorns and brambles or the vicious carnivorous appetites of animals, are through secondary causation. The Fall was essentially a result of secondary causation, keeping in mind the integral good. Therefore, any changes we see through defects in creation, such as the fallen state of man from Adam or corruption and mutation in species, are due to these secondary causes.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

"modern Catholics have tended to put too much faith in the pope and too little in the Church." - Bishop Williamson.

"And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Mt. 10:28
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(09-15-2019, 12:52 PM)Augustinian Wrote: Yes, and I made an error in my distinctions here, which I apologize for. What I should have emphasized is that sin does not change the essence itself of a thing, which as you noted is erroneous, but that sin changes the accidental nature of that thing so that it is defective. And this idea is rooted in the notion of the integral good, where that all things God creates are wholly good. To have any sort of defect is to introduce a lack of good in some aspect of that thing, which would be an accidental defect of its nature rather than, as I erroneously held, a change of the integral nature of the thing itself.

Yes, sin caused an accidental change in human nature in that the præternatural gifts previously added to nature as accidental qualities were removed, making man again subject to death, illness, suffering, pain in childbirth, etc. all of which are natural and belong to all of material creation by nature. But then also came punishments which disordered the nature and introduced defects. Thus it is human nature, but wounded with an indisposition (a kind of accident), which only grace can overcome.

(09-15-2019, 12:52 PM)Augustinian Wrote: Now, the point I was trying to make with the Fall is that there is this accidental change in the nature of creatures due to sin, not due to the actions of God, in which all of His actions are perfect per the integral good. Now, the issue arises with theistic evolution, and especially that of neo-Thomists who accept this position, is that of a rejection of this integral good. To say that God utilizes evolution in any such way is to say that God purposely created things to have defects and that He created, or introduced, death into the world.

Now, the way that things outside of the good are introduced into the world, such as thorns and brambles or the vicious carnivorous appetites of animals, are through secondary causation. The Fall was essentially a result of secondary causation, keeping in mind the integral good. Therefore, any changes we see through defects in creation, such as the fallen state of man from Adam or corruption and mutation in species, are due to these secondary causes.

I'm not arguing for theistic evolution. I don't like the idea myself, but it is not as problematic as you suggest. I personally take no position, do not need to create any model for myself, and prefer to just follow the theology, philosophy and science where they lead.

That said, your principles here are a bit off, as well.

God did create things with imperfections, because while he is the perfect good, what is not perfect, by definition has imperfections as related to the whole, even if in its own nature these are not defects. For instance to not have the animal powers of the soul in the hierarchy of universal goods is a defect as relates to the universal whole, but certainly not defective as regards a plant. It cannot perform more universally perfect actions, but it is a plant and perfectly acts as a plant. It itself it is integrally good because it seeks its own end according to is nature. As regards the whole it is imperfect. As regards itself it is perfect.

The same in the hierarchy of animals. A dolphin is more perfect than a bacterium in a universal sense, while each is perfect in its nature (because it cannot act against its nature).

This is why one can say that imperfection is necessary for the perfection of the whole. Whenever there is a hierarchy there is necessarily imperfection, and were there not, the whole would not be perfect.

Those defects on a universal scale did not come about by secondary causality. They come from the nature of the thing. They come from the intention of God ordering by Providence the whole universe towards its proper end.

These imperfections include death which is natural and therefore must of preceded the fall in material creatures which were not protected by some præternatural gift of immortality. This can be shown by the number of plants and animals which cannot exist without the death of other animals, or those whose nature is violent (my example of a lion). Their perfection requires the "imperfection" (the ability to die and be reduced to nutrition) in another.

So while through secondary causation, the Fall and the impact on man can easily be seen, it cannot be asserted that somehow that fall changed, accidentally or substantially the natures of things beyond man. The only way to say this is to assert not an accidental, but a substantial change in all of Creation as a result of sin, because while man can now (because he has a will) act against his nature, others animals and plants do not have said will, so blindly seek their proper end, and cannot choose against their nature, which means they act according to their nature.
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(09-15-2019, 02:34 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: These imperfections include death which is natural and therefore must of preceded the fall in material creatures which were not protected by some præternatural gift of immortality. This can be shown by the number of plants and animals which cannot exist without the death of other animals, or those whose nature is violent (my example of a lion). Their perfection requires the "imperfection" (the ability to die and be reduced to nutrition) in another. 

So while through secondary causation, the Fall and the impact on man can easily be seen, it cannot be asserted that somehow that fall changed, accidentally or substantially the natures of things beyond man. The only way to say this is to assert not an accidental, but a substantial change in all of Creation as a result of sin, because while man can now (because he has a will) act against his nature, others animals and plants do not have said will, so blindly seek their proper end, and cannot choose against their nature, which means they act according to their nature.

Yet there's an issue I take with even this view before the Fall, in both scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers. Forgive me, I don't mean to hammer you with quotations, but I would just like to back up my point.

Citing Genesis 1:29-30
Quote:'Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.'
This passage explicitly states, via the order of creation wherein the plants preceded the animals, that plants, herbs and fruits of the earth were created to provide sustenance not only for Adam, but also for the animals and 'beasts' as well. This suggests that before the Fall, all animals would have been naturally herbivorous following in the order of their master, Adam. It wasn't until Adam fell, that, in his role as appointed master of creation, that all of creation followed suit and faced accidental changes to their nature (developing predatory instincts, carnivorous appetites, etc.) Much like how the passions of man were altered.

But I won't just stop there with scripture, there are various Church Fathers who make the same conclusion:

St. Theophilus of Antioch; To Autolycus, 2.17
Quote:And the animals are named wild beasts [θηρία], from their being hunted [θηρεύεσθαι], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first — for nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good — but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him. For as, if the master of the house himself acts rightly, the domestics also of necessity conduct themselves well; but if the master sins, the servants also sin with him; so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man's sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness.'

This excerpt from St. Theophilus falls in line with what I stated above regarding creation following suit with Adam's transgression, as evil did not just befall Adam but all of creation.

St. Ireneaus; Against Heresies, 5.33.4
Quote:'It is right that when the creation is restored, all the animals should obey and be in subjection to man, and revert to the food originally given by God (for they had been originally subjected in obedience to Adam), that is, the productions of the earth.'

St. Ireneaus is speaking in manner of context regarding the world after the Last Judgment, but it also pertains to the formation of the world and the state of existence pre-Fall in Paradise. He is specifically citing Isaiah 11:6-7: "the wolf shall feed with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat..."

St. John Damascene; On the Orthodox Faith, 2.10
Quote:'At that time the earth brought forth of itself fruits for the use of the animals that were subject to man.'

Again citing the role of vegetation as the sole diet of creatures.

St. Basil the Great; On the Origin of Man, 2.6
Quote:'Doubtless indeed vultures did not look around the earth when living things came to be. For nothing yet died of these things given meaning or brought into being by God, so that vultures might eat it. Nature was not divided, for it was in its prime; nor did hunters kill, for that was not yet the custom of human beings; nor did wild beasts claw their prey, for they were not carnivores. And it is customary for vultures to feed on corpses, but since there were not yet corpses, nor yet their stench, so there was not yet such food for vultures. But all followed the diet of swans and all grazed the meadows.'

St. Basil is the most explicit of the cited Fathers in stating the pacifistic state of creatures before the Fall, citing the lack of the presence of death too.

And death, even in regard to animals, is something I take issue with before the Fall because it is a privation of life, which would go against the integral good. Yes, it would be a good for lions to eat lambs as they are today, but the Fathers appear to agree that the pre-Fall state of carnivores is that of herbivores given that the privation of life would introduce an evil into creation. And it is not the place of animals to introduce evil, but man, due to the order God set within creation.

Finally, I just want to cite an excerpt from a Fr. Ripperger talk on the same subject, unfortunately he doesn't make any specific references (to the Fathers), as I had to find those myself. See ~45:35 to ~48:22
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

"modern Catholics have tended to put too much faith in the pope and too little in the Church." - Bishop Williamson.

"And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Mt. 10:28
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Augustinian,

There's a lot to unpack.

Let's start with the end :

(09-15-2019, 09:33 PM)Augustinian Wrote: And death, even in regard to animals, is something I take issue with before the Fall because it is a privation of life, which would go against the integral good. Yes, it would be a good for lions to eat lambs as they are today, but the Fathers appear to agree that the pre-Fall state of carnivores is that of herbivores given that the privation of life would introduce an evil into creation. And it is not the place of animals to introduce evil, but man, due to the order God set within creation.

You have a mistaken notion of "the integral good" and it is something which St Thomas Aquinas already took issue with (ST I, q. 22, a. 2, ad 2)

Quote:Objection 2. Further, a wise provider excludes any defect or evil, as far as he can, from those over whom he has a care. But we see many evils existing. Either, then, God cannot hinder these, and thus is not omnipotent; or else He does not have care for everything...

Reply to Objection 2. It is otherwise with one who has care of a particular thing, and one whose providence is universal, because a particular provider excludes all defects from what is subject to his care as far as he can; whereas, one who provides universally allows some little defect to remain, lest the good of the whole should be hindered. Hence, corruption and defects in natural things are said to be contrary to some particular nature; yet they are in keeping with the plan of universal nature; inasmuch as the defect in one thing yields to the good of another, or even to the universal good: for the corruption of one is the generation of another, and through this it is that a species is kept in existence. Since God, then, provides universally for all being, it belongs to His providence to permit certain defects in particular effects, that the perfect good of the universe may not be hindered, for if all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the universe. A lion would cease to live, if there were no slaying of animals; and there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution. Thus Augustine says (Enchiridion 2): "Almighty God would in no wise permit evil to exist in His works, unless He were so almighty and so good as to produce good even from evil." It would appear that it was on account of these two arguments to which we have just replied, that some were persuaded to consider corruptible things—e.g. casual and evil things—as removed from the care of divine providence.

So, the example of the lion is straight from St Thomas Aquinas.

Later in Question 48, Article 2, St Thomas is even more explicit :

Quote:As, therefore, the perfection of the universe requires that there should be not only beings incorruptible, but also corruptible beings; so the perfection of the universe requires that there should be some which can fail in goodness, and thence it follows that sometimes they do fail. Now it is in this that evil consists, namely, in the fact that a thing fails in goodness. Hence it is clear that evil is found in things, as corruption also is found; for corruption is itself an evil.

And replying in Objection 3 to the person who would assert that God always creates the best, so there cannot by nature be any evil in creation :

Quote:God and nature and any other agent make what is best in the whole, but not what is best in every single part, except in order to the whole, as was said above (I:47:2). And the whole itself, which is the universe of creatures, is all the better and more perfect if some things in it can fail in goodness, and do sometimes fail, God not preventing this. This happens, firstly, because "it belongs to Providence not to destroy, but to save nature," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv); but it belongs to nature that what may fail should sometimes fail; secondly, because, as Augustine says (Enchir. 11), "God is so powerful that He can even make good out of evil." Hence many good things would be taken away if God permitted no evil to exist; for fire would not be generated if air was not corrupted, nor would the life of a lion be preserved unless the ass were killed. Neither would avenging justice nor the patience of a sufferer be praised if there were no injustice.

Later in the Prima Secundæ, Question 85, St Thomas explains that death is natural to man. It would follow then, if it is natural to man, a fortiori, it is natural to what is less than man, namely the animals and plants.

His argument is that :

Quote:Universal nature [as] an active force ... intends the good and the preservation of the universe, for which alternate generation and corruption in things are requisite: and in this respect corruption and defect in things are natural ... although every form intends perpetual being as far as it can, yet no form of a corruptible being can achieve its own perpetuity, except the rational soul... Consequently as regards his form, incorruption is more natural to man than to other corruptible things. But since that very form has a matter composed of contraries, from the inclination of that matter there results corruptibility in the whole. In this respect man is naturally corruptible as regards the nature of his matter left to itself, but not as regards the nature of his form ... Whereas the fact that it is corruptible is due to a condition of matter, and is not chosen by nature: indeed nature would choose an incorruptible matter if it could. But God, to Whom every nature is subject, in forming man supplied the defect of nature, and by the gift of original justice, gave the body a certain incorruptibility, as was stated in the I:97:1. It is in this sense that it is said that "God made not death," and that death is the punishment of sin.

So while it is natural for our soul to be immortal, it is also natural to our body that we die, and it is only because God in Original Justice, supplied a præternatural immortality that the body was totally subject to the soul and thus immortal.

The consequence of that argument, however, is that if the only created thing which is properly immortal by nature is the rational soul, then those creatures without rational souls would even more naturally die, since they have no rational soul.

The point is that St Thomas sees no incompatibility of animal death before the Fall with Scripture. He was clearly aware of the Fathers, since he quotes them in other places, so did not see their arguments as definitive or even the common opinion.

This is an important point that a lot of people, like Hugh Owen and the Kolbe Center miss. They fall into the same trap as the Modernist resoursement. They quote the Fathers, but fail to look at the developments in theology which correct some notions that are not dogmatic in some Fathers. They will speak of how "all the Fathers" teach a point and fail to understand that not all do, or even many, and when some do it is not done so ex professo—in order to teach a doctrine which is to be held—but rather often in passing or as an assumed point.

This is normal that later theologians will take more refined points, and sometimes contradictory points than the Fathers on points where there is no universal agreement on a point of dogma. For instance St Thomas corrects St Augustine on several points surrounding grace and its operation.

It is fine to go back to the Fathers, but one also has to realize that in doing so, one also has to read the Fathers in context of the next 1500 years or so of theology and the Magisterium.

And thus the most interesting passage from St Thomas is Prima Pars, Question 96, Article 1, in his response to the second objection (my emphasis):

Quote:In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon. Nor does Bede's gloss on Genesis 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals.

So, in the opinion of St Thomas, lions, before the fall, most likely did not eat grass and plants, but other animals, because sin did not change their nature.

That also corresponds well with the fact that Adam named the animals before his Fall, and to give a name not only shows mastership, but reflects the nature of the thing named. This is a very Scriptural notion, that a name signifies something essential about the thing itself.

However, if one looks at the names in Hebrew for lion, hawk, eagle, owl, vulture, cobra, adder, viper, and serpent, among many others, we find terms which are sourced from very violent behavior. For instance the Hebrew for "eagle" comes from a verb meaning "to lacerate", and serpent from a word meaning "burning poison". Likewise the Hebrew word used for "beasts" in Genesis 1.24 indicates a carnivore, where as the "cattle" herbivores.

The New Testament arguments from Rom 5.12 and 1 Cor 15.21 also are very clearly referencing human death, not animal or plant death.

And so we have no passage of Scripture which definitively requires that there were no carnivores before the Fall. Instead a quite reasonable argument why there would have been carnivorous animals and thus likely animal death before the Fall, and the pre-eminent theologian of the Church agreeing with this against some Fathers, whose opinion he calls "unreasonable". That's certainly at least worth consideration.

(09-15-2019, 09:33 PM)Augustinian Wrote: Yet there's an issue I take with even this view before the Fall, in both scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers. Forgive me, I don't mean to hammer you with quotations, but I would just like to back up my point.

I'm happy to have this discussion, and in no way see this as "hammering" at all. Do find defenses of your points. It makes for a good discussion, something previous pages in this thread have sorely lacked!

(09-15-2019, 09:33 PM)Augustinian Wrote: Citing Genesis 1:29-30
Quote:'Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.'
This passage explicitly states, via the order of creation wherein the plants preceded the animals, that plants, herbs and fruits of the earth were created to provide sustenance not only for Adam, but also for the animals and 'beasts' as well. This suggests that before the Fall, all animals would have been naturally herbivorous following in the order of their master, Adam. It wasn't until Adam fell, that, in his role as appointed master of creation, that all of creation followed suit and faced accidental changes to their nature (developing predatory instincts, carnivorous appetites, etc.) Much like how the passions of man were altered.

That is not the only conclusion from this passage.

Several times in Scripture we have synecdoche where a part is used to mean the whole. We have to be careful in such cases, or analogous ones, not to assert that what is said is more exclusive that what is actually said. A perfect example of this is the number of angels at the tomb after Resurrection. One account gives one, another two, and this is often used by Rationalists as a proof of contradiction, when to see one does not mean there were not two. If the passage said "only one" then "two" is a contradiction.

Here, no where do we read that "I give only green plants for food". In fact that's not found in Scripture.

(09-15-2019, 09:33 PM)Augustinian Wrote: But I won't just stop there with scripture, there are various Church Fathers who make the same conclusion:

And it's not my place to take issues with some Fathers, but just to point out that St Thomas thought these opinions unreasonable.

My surmising why these Fathers took this idea is that probably it was the neo-Platonic philosophy and theology they were working with which tended to be highly idealistic, hence a kind of idyllic utopia in Original Justice among even animals, but neglecting that a more realist St Thomas would suggest that Original Justice was something pertaining to men and not to animals and plants as such.

(09-15-2019, 09:33 PM)Augustinian Wrote: Finally, I just want to cite an excerpt from a Fr. Ripperger talk on the same subject, unfortunately he doesn't make any specific references, as I had to find those myself.

I would take issue with Fr Ripperger for two reasons.

Firstly, it is well known that his celebrity status and his tendency to be found speaking about every kind of topic is troubling to me. He is an intelligent man, but there is something odd about the fact that people cite him for every kind of topic and not only this, his sermons and videos and conferences, etc. are everywhere in tradition circles. I don't see that with many other priests, so that's a red flag for me, but only a concern, so not directly applicable to the matter at hand.

The second issue is that he is also a theological advisor for the Kolbe Center. In itself that is not a problem and it is good that such an outfit would have a theological advisor. Laymen doing theology without any formal training like Hugh Owen is very dangerous, without a theological filter.

The issue is that Fr Ripperger seems to play very loose with his theology when it comes to this subject. One SSPX priest who I know well wrote to Hugh Owen about his misquoting St Thomas Aquinas on ST I, q. 45, a. 8. This question deals with the present day and substantial change and is St Thomas asserting that when a substantial change occurs is the new form educed from the pre-existing subject or is it Creation again where God creates ex nihilo a new form. St Thomas asserts the former. Owen uses the question, however, to assert that there is no secondary causality in Genesis 1—i.e. that natural forces do not enter into the adornment of Creation so everything described in Genesis 1 is a direct act of the First Cause. This is not what that question address at all.

The priest who questioned Owen got a response saying that Fr Ripperger said that indeed Owen's claim was not what St Thomas was arguing, but by analogy one could make the argument, so even if it is a misquote of St Thomas, it still is an accurate statement of theology, so it is fine to use St Thomas even if this is not what St Thomas means. That's unreasonable, and is one of the points that made me really start to question Fr Ripperger's orthodoxy as a theologian on such points.
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(09-15-2019, 11:45 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [see above post]

This is why I like this forum, I make an erroneous claim and receive the proper correction. Thank you.
I still am going to continue exploring this perspective of creation, but I will also keep the information you provided in mind. I still have a suspicion that there's something to a more Patristic cosmology, mainly because I've become more wary to the naturalistic accommodations some theologians in the Church have allowed in recent times.

I know that I mentioned the Kolbe Center earlier, but I must say I by no means cite them as authoritative on anything. At most, I just take a particular interest in their Patristic leanings regarding Genesis as opposed to some more modern creationist concessions regarding naturalist conclusions.

I'm not at all shocked to see your perspective on Fr. Ripperger, and I only brought him up because he's among the few Catholic priest who have actually mentioned this "herbivorous" perspective outside of the Church Fathers themselves. I do agree that he tends to overreach a bit in the topics he addresses, I personally have my own issues with his hard-line legalism regarding morality but I know this tends to stem from a purely Thomistic perspective, of which I do not completely adhere to (I'm becoming more Franciscan the more I read St Bonaventure  :D)
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

"modern Catholics have tended to put too much faith in the pope and too little in the Church." - Bishop Williamson.

"And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Mt. 10:28
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(09-16-2019, 08:20 PM)Augustinian Wrote:
(09-15-2019, 11:45 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [see above post]

This is why I like this forum, I make an erroneous claim and receive the proper correction. Thank you.
I still am going to continue exploring this perspective of creation, but I will also keep the information you provided in mind. I still have a suspicion that there's something to a more Patristic cosmology, mainly because I've become more wary to the naturalistic accommodations some theologians in the Church have allowed in recent times.

I know that I mentioned the Kolbe Center earlier, but I must say I by no means cite them as authoritative on anything. At most, I just take a particular interest in their Patristic leanings regarding Genesis as opposed to some more modern creationist concessions regarding naturalist conclusions.

I'm not at all shocked to see your perspective on Fr. Ripperger, and I only brought him up because he's among the few Catholic priest who have actually mentioned this "herbivorous" perspective outside of the Church Fathers themselves. I do agree that he tends to overreach a bit in the topics he addresses, I personally have my own issues with his hard-line legalism regarding morality but I know this tends to stem from a purely Thomistic perspective, of which I do not completely adhere to (I'm becoming more Franciscan the more I read St Bonaventure  :D)

I think it's always very good to challenge our ideas and look for defenses of positions like this. 

By no means would I suggest that even St Thomas is certainly correct here, but I think we do need to look at many sources if we're going to find the truth, and it's also good to know that even the Saints had different opinions on things which are not integral to the Catholic Faith.

A real resourcement in going back to the Father is very important and needed. One of the problems with the decadence in scholasticism came from losing focus on the sources and approach (which you find beautifully harmonized in St Thomas) and turning theology into the learning of maxims that could be distilled. That's fine and necessary for basic catechism, but one cannot be called a decent theologian without learning the sources, and continually challenging his own opinion.

The sad problem that I've seen with Owen and the Kolbe Center is something I think many of us fall into : Confirmation Bias. We convince ourselves of the truth of a proposition, then we look for the evidence of it, and we begin dismissing anything contradictory of it, even if only by failing to look for it. We all do it, and it's a problem, and that's why having critics who are willing to cite sources, deal with one issue at a time, etc. are very good for us.

Owen saw Communism and eugenics for its horrors, but then made the connection with their teaching evolution as an alternative to theism, and swung to fundamental Protestantism and Biblicism as a reaction. I was at a talk of his where he admitted, with frustration, that the Church allows people to hold an old earth, because she has not condemned it, but it is still an error, and one day he thinks she will define it as heresy. That's not a proper attitude, and comes from a certainty that one is right and reinterpreting anything else in this light.

I'd say the same with Fr Ripperger. I think he's tried to frame everything in terms of diabolical influence by his penchant for exorcisms. That's led him to publish and defend the publication of a book of prayers against the devils without imprimatur (which is required by law) and hold a very rigorist opinion on moral theology which causes some of the same scruples and troubles he suggests are demonic. Thus his idea of "generational spirits". If your father had a problem with purity, your problem with purity is not because of a lack of proper formation and will training, but because the devil of impurity is obsessed with your family. It is troubling because one of his seminary students once told me that he insisted on doing all of his course on the fallen angels in Latin and that what was discussed in class not be discussed outside of class because of the danger of diabolic influences, yet this is his career and he's doing exactly what he instructed his students in Nebraska never to do. 

But as critical as I may be of those above, I think we can also look ourselves in the mirror on this as well. I'm sure I'm guilty of these same basic things, and more than a few times even here : Having a pet idea and then becoming fixated on it, even when good evidence exists to suggest I'm not as correct as I thought. We traddies love to do this, especially when we get onto conspiracy theories, so we're not immune either.

That's why it's good to have people who can, in a charitable manner, challenge us, and I welcome that from others here toward myself as well.
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(09-16-2019, 08:20 PM)Augustinian Wrote: I'm not at all shocked to see your perspective on Fr. Ripperger, and I only brought him up because he's among the few Catholic priest who have actually mentioned this "herbivorous" perspective outside of the Church Fathers themselves. I do agree that he tends to overreach a bit in the topics he addresses, I personally have my own issues with his hard-line legalism regarding morality but I know this tends to stem from a purely Thomistic perspective, of which I do not completely adhere to (I'm becoming more Franciscan the more I read St Bonaventure  :D)

Not to distract from the main topic, but from my seminary studies in Moral Theology, I'd not say that Fr Ripperger's rigorism is Thomistic.

We studied several theologians including Prümmer, who is about as Thomistic as one can get without just reading St Thomas himself. In that you find a far less rigorist opinion than with Fr Ripperger on issues of the marital act, for instance, so I don't think one could say his stance is Thomistic. Certainly no "hard-line legalism" is Thomistic either, for legalism is a form of volunarianism, which is very much Scotian, not Thomistic.

And as we saw above, the "herbivorous" perspective is also not Thomistic, so again, I'd not classify Fr Ripperger as a close follower of St Thomas Aquinas. He may follow St Thomas in certain areas, but takes his own track away from Thomistic principles at least on certain matters.
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(09-15-2019, 11:45 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: And thus the most interesting passage from St Thomas is Prima Pars, Question 96, Article 1, in his response to the second objection (my emphasis):

Quote:In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon. Nor does Bede's gloss on Genesis 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals.

"But this is quite unreasonable" seems a rather weak translation for the Latin "Sed hoc est omnino irrationabile".

In article 4 of the same question the term "irrationalibilibus" means the non-rational animals - those which lack reason entirely.
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