Pope Benedict XVI's astronomer: the Catholic Church welcomes aliens
(12-01-2011, 03:03 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: To continue on St. Augustine, I think in this scenario, you could still keep the view of human nature that I quoted above, but the existence of intelligent aliens would obviously disprove the belief that all rational mortal animals are descended from Adam and Eve. For that, it seems like you would have to look more toward someone like St. Gregory of Nyssa, who sees human nature as being fundamentally altered as a result of Adam's sin because he was a sort of representative of humanity as a whole. Of course, St. Gregory also held the orthodox view that everyone is descended from Adam, so everyone receives his human nature from Adam, but I think his view of human nature and original sin would make it easier to accept the idea that there are rational animals who are not descended from Adam, which would be necessary if we were to find intelligent aliens.

By the way, the view of animals that some people are propounding here doesn't seem completely Biblical. Just look at some of the Psalms:

Psalm 148:7-10 Wrote:Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

Yes, we have dominion over nature and we can use animals to provide for our needs, but they aren't just completely utilitarian objects made for nothing beyond fulfilling our needs.

Animals, by definition, have souls (anima, in Latin).  They are not immortal, rational souls like with Men and Angels, but they are not merely meat machines without dignity.  That's Cartesian thinking, not traditional.  St. Francis, after all, loved the animals.  :grin:

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Re: Pope Benedict XVI's astronomer: the Catholic Church welcomes aliens - by Parmandur - 12-01-2011, 03:13 PM

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