Churches Stance on Evolution 1950
(04-22-2018, 10:12 PM)Jacafamala Wrote: I'm inclined to think animals didn't die before the fall unless the Church clearly teaches I'm wrong. This would appear to make total sense to me. Death came into the world through sin. I should think that it includes the ravages of nature, such as hurricanes, tornados and the overall brutality of nature. Before the fall, people were in fact vegetarian. It's only after the fall we see such things as animal skin coverings for Adam and Eve. To me, in my mind I could see how that makes total sense.

The Church does not mandate that you accept or reject animal death before the Fall.

Thomistic theologians, however, generally hold that animal death did occur before the Fall for several reasons :
  • Material beings, even man are naturally mortal
    • Summa Theologica (I q.97, a.1, obj. 1 & ad.1) : It would seem that in the state of innocence man was not immortal. For the term "mortal" belongs to the definition of man. But if you take away the definition, you take away the thing defined. Therefore as long as man was man he could not be immortal ... These objections are founded on natural incorruptibility and immortality.
    • Garrigiou-Lagrange, Réginald, God the Creator) : Man's body, since it is a material composite, is by its nature passible and mortal, like the bodies of brute animals, but as long as the soul remained subject to God "divine providence protected his body so that nothing unforeseen should occur to harm it." ([i]ST I q.97, a.2 ad 4) [/i]
  • It was only by an added and gratuitous gift which was fittingly caused by the subjection of Man to God (through Sanctifying Grace) and the Lower Passion to the Intellect (by Integrity) that body was perfectly subject to soul and thus man was Immortal and Impassible.
    • Summa Theologica (I q.97, a.1) : For man's body was indissoluble not by reason of any intrinsic vigor of immortality, but by reason of a supernatural force given by God to the soul, whereby it was enabled to preserve the body from all corruption so long as it remained itself subject to God.
  • This preservation from death is properly miraculous.
    • Garrigiou-Lagrange, Réginald, God the Creator) : Perpetual preservation from bodily death was a miracle like the resurrection of the body, by which the natural life of the body is supernaturally restored; nature can of course produce life by generation, but it cannot preserve the body, in itself corruptible, from death.
  • The causal chain is that, Sanctifying Grace directly caused the Integral ordering of the Passions to the Intellect, and only fittingly this ordering demanded that the Body itself be ordered to the soul, but the soul being immortal, the body's immortality was a fitting consequence assured by a miraculous gift.
  • But animals cannot be the recipients of Sanctify Grace and thus they cannot be the recipients of Integrity or Immortality. They also do they even possess an immortal rational soul, so even if it were fitting that their body be totally subject to their soul, it would remain mortal.
  • Therefore, both animal death and human death were natural, but by the design of God before the Fall, fittingly flowing from Sanctifying Grace, man was preserved from the death which naturally should have happened.
  • The punishment for man was fittingly the loss of Sanctifying Grace, which caused the loss of the gifts which flowed from these. Even though man could recover that grave with God's help, God did not deign to also restore those free gifts, just as someone who has been convicted of a grievous crime may be returned to society after having been forgiven, but his freely-given rights (e.g. voting, owning a firearm, etc.) may fittingly be restricted. The removal of a free gift is a fitting punishment for the fault.
So, with all of that, the Thomist would argue that animal death is natural and if there was sufficient time before the Fall, there would have been animal death naturally. Lions would have eaten Gazelles, as this is not caused by sin, but by the very nature of a lion.

The argument can also be one from absurdity :
  • If God created everything according to a certain nature and never changes the nature of a thing (he never miraculously cause an ape to instantly turn into a man with an immortal soul), then to suggest that man's sin changed animals' natures means that man, by sin, caused something which even God does not do.
  • It also suggests that God created a world which was imperfect, since a single sin could cause an irreparable change throughout the whole universe (which is wildly disproportionate to the action).
  • If Immortality were a miracle, and Saint Thomas says it was, then to suggest that animals did not die until the fall means that God created an order which he had to support by innumerable miracles in preserving all animals from following the nature that He gave them until man sinned, but this not only multiplies miracles which we are never allowed to presume without reason, it also calls into question the Wisdom of God. This is because it would suggest that God, knowing man would sin created an imperfect world, and then by miracles given to the entire universe except man, prevented the very nature that he created from acting as it should until man sinned and then he could allow nature to run its course.
Thus, why animals death did not begin with the Original Sin.

Messages In This Thread
RE: Churches Stance on Evolution 1950 - by MaryTN - 04-21-2018, 05:19 PM
RE: Churches Stance on Evolution 1950 - by MagisterMusicae - 04-22-2018, 10:58 PM

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)