SAMT

Summary Against Modern Thought: Jesus’s Human Nature

Previous post.

We took a couple of weeks off to celebrate the birth of Our Lord. We’re back at it, so it might be best to review.

THAT THE HUMAN NATURE ASSUMED BY THE WORD IN THE CONCEPTION ITSELF WAS PERFECT IN SOUL AND BODY

1 Now, this further point is also clear: In the very beginning of conception the rational soul was united to the body.

2 The Word of God, of course, assumed the body through the soul’s mediation, for the body of a man is not more subject to assumption by God than other bodies except because of the rational soul. The Word of God, then, did not assume the body without the rational soul. Therefore, since the Word of God assumed the body in the very beginning of conception, necessarily the rational soul was united to the body in the very beginning of conception.

Notes At conception, note. At.

3 Moreover, one who grants what is posterior in a generation must grant also that which is prior in the order of generation. But the posterior in a generation is that which is most perfect. But the most perfect is the generated individual, and this in human generation is an hypostasis or person, and it is toward constituting this that the body and soul are ordered. Granted, then, a personality of the man generated, there must needs exist a body and a rational soul. But the personality of the man Christ is not different from the personality of God’s Word. But the Word of God united a human body to Himself in the very conception. Therefore, the personality of that man was there. Therefore, the rational soul must also have been there.

4 It would also have been awkward if the Word, the fount and origin of all perfections and forms, were united to a thing, not formed, which still was lacking the perfection of nature. Now, anything corporeal that comes into being is, before its animation, formless and still lacking the perfection of nature. It was, therefore, not fitting for the Word of God to be united to a body not yet animated. Thus, from the moment of conception that soul had to be united to the body.

5 Hence, this point too, is clear: The body assumed in the moment of conception was a formed body, if the assumption of something not formed was improper for the Word. But the soul demands its proper matter, just as any other natural form does. But the proper matter of the soul is the organized body, for a soul is “the entelechy of a natural organic body having life potentially.”

If, then, the soul from the beginning of the conception was united to the body (this has been shown), the body from the beginning of the conception was of necessity organized and formed. And even the organization of the body precedes in the order of generation the introduction of the rational soul. Here, again, if one grants what is posterior, he must grant what is prior.

6 But there is no reason why a quantitative increase up to the due measure should not follow on the body’s being animated. And so, regarding the conception of the man assumed, one should hold that in the very beginning of conception the body was organized and formed, but had not yet its due quantity.

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23 replies »

  1. Entelechy. There’s a new old word for your vocabulary. The citation quoted by Aquinas using “entelechy” is from Aristotle.

    From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

    entelechy, (from Greek entelecheia), in philosophy, that which realizes or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential.

    Dr. Christopher Anadale of Mount Saint Mary’s University and Seminary explains Aristotle’s Theory of the Soul here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HdfQmBTYFk

    The point Aquinas makes (in case you missed it) is that human soul and human body are actualized together, necessarily, from the moment of conception. The soul does not arrive later, after so many weeks or at birth. The seed and the tree are the same, although at different stages of growth.

  2. That “entelechy” thing popped out at me, too, ripe as a krater of greek olives.

    Class, give written examples properly using the word, “entelechy”.

    Natural Entelechy:

    Acorn ———-> Mighty Oak

    Old School Entelechy:

    Zygote ———> Rational Man

    Progressive Entelechy:

    Clump of Cells ———> Crazy Clown

  3. Exactly, Uncle Mike and Hagfish Bagpipe, exactly. Human life begins at conception (which for us is the uniting of a man’s sperm cell and a woman’s egg cell for our physical bodies and the injection of a new specific soul, that is, that which gives the chemicals that comprise the body, life).

  4. This is all very interesting. A few “loose ends” are beginning to be connected to the thread in my mind. The mystery of the Incarnation, the “Logos” of God expressed as a real Man (“like us in all things but sin”) can also be God’s knowledge of Himself and the Creator of Everything but Himself for His own purpose (a magnanimous gift of Self).

    It’s horribly hard for a faulty and dissipated mind like mine to express what I think I can understand of the infinite perfection of God. Of course it would take a future eternity to make no dent on the understanding of infinite perfection.

    Good ole Tom. I have no idea of what he “saw” that made him say something like “All that I have said is but straw.” Anyhow, Tom, straw can be a minimal nourishment for some of us goats and donkeys.

  5. As history has repeatedly shown, misinterpreting Aquinas for one’s own benefit will not get you into heaven; in fact, quite possibly, launch you elsewhere.

  6. Notes At conception, note. At.

    What about identical twins, which at conception are just one fertilised egg and sperm?

  7. Excellent question, Swordfishtrombone!! Only God knows exactly. I have never come across that question before. Perhaps since God knows the zygote will divide, say into twins, some say that He puts two souls in the zygote, and then when the zygote divides, God places the souls in the individual bodies. The zygote, to me, is the sign of God granting life. How He works out twins, triplets, and more, He knows.
    God bless you, C-Marie

  8. Excellent answer, C-Marie. Clearly they both have human souls. That much we all can agree on.

  9. C-Marie,

    If God puts two souls into one zygote because he knows it will develop into twins, what happens in the case of a miscarriage, which he knows will die? Time for another ad hoc answer.

    Uncle Mike,

    Clearly they both have human souls. That much we all can agree on.

    I don’t agree.

  10. Whether before or after the zygote splits into identical twins, the two souls are two (or more as in triplets, etc.) individual persons who will be called by God at some time to appear before Him so as to account for their lives in the earth.

    God knows how all of this works. It is God’s mystery as the above is only what appears to be logical assumptions as to how else could twins and more come about. God knows.

    God bless, C-Marie

  11. Someone must be paying that noisyfish a lot to be irrationally obstructionist.

    Look, Noisy, y’ don’t have to have any ticket from an institution dedicated to “tearing this God out of his Heaven” (Karl Marx) to notice that a live organism has something that makes physics and chemistry do what it never, never, ever, ever, does other than in a live organism. The metaphysical “thing” that makes it work can’t be detached and dissected but we can know for sure that it’s there because if it’s not there we have a corpse with all the “right” chemicals etc. but it’s not working as a live organism.

    God, in His infinite wisdom, is remiss by not telling me how all this life thing works but, I would be utterly perverse to assume that what I can see working must not work because I do not control it.

    As far as I can see even identical twins have animating souls with that human peculiarity of persistence, intellect and will. I don’t need to know how because I’m not charged with doing it.

    Hey, Fishy! are you, perhaps, one of those galahs that wants to be snap frozen so that you can wake up in the future and be a primordial guru? If so you should do it quick because the whole Materialist paradigm is coming unstuck and you could be preserved as a curious fossil.

  12. Our work, given to us by Jesus the only begotten Son of God, is to fully receive salvation through Him, and to witness to what we have seen and heard. God’s revelation of Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, is Hs imparting to us that He, the Living God, is Triune, each Person fully God and yet distinct from each other.

    This was and is at the heart of all of the teachings and life, sufferings and death, and bodily Resurrection, of the Lord of all, Jesus Christ.

    Human reasoning can and often does, go awry, especially due to the within mankind, the desire to know all and to be, lord of all. This was the temptation of Satan to Eve, and Adam followed the same. That same cupidity is within each of us to varying degrees, and truly shows up when we pursue knowledge past boundaries set by God.

    So, that we not know what has not been given to us, is a good, else God would have us know. Questioning is all right, but Far better, we witness to Jesus Christ, to Himself Who is alive and well and Who is Really, Truly coming again. Be ready by being His!!

  13. Oldavid,

    Someone must be paying that noisyfish a lot to be irrationally obstructionist.

    Your comments do more for atheism than anything I could come up with. If I was getting paid (I’m not), I’d feel obliged to give you a cut.

    a live organism has something that makes physics and chemistry do what it never, never, ever, ever, does other than in a live organism.

    The idea that there’s some kind of life force or soul distinguishing living from non-living things was abandoned by biology centuries ago. What makes living things work are physical processes like chemistry and physics. Nothing else is needed or has ever been observed. People die because one or more parts of their bodies have stopped working, not because a glowing ball of blue-white light has wafted up into the sky (or however you prefer to visualise the soul leaving the body).

    the whole Materialist paradigm is coming unstuck and you could be preserved as a curious fossil.

    According to lying Christian apologists, but not according to any honest assesement of science or philosophy.

  14. If you’re looking for God, Swordfish, don’t look at aquinas or listen to fundamentalists fanatics to find him. Although you know that already.
    Take no notice of the nasty remarks. They disobey Christ’s teaching, which is the only teaching that really matters when it comes to Christian faith. neither did Paul teach hatred and lying as a method of spreading the word of God.

    To say this question’s never been asked b before is to be pretty superficial about the entire subject. Thomas has raised it in the past, too, of’a Sunday.

    Nobody has the answers. People have ideas.

    We can hold beliefs, but that is all they are. That is what Faith is.
    Faith and knowledge are two very different things. Too much pretence that they are the same is problematic

    There’s nothing Anybody here, which includes Oldavid, can do, to make God love you less or love you more. Same for everybody. Learning how to do the same is the part where everybody falls down. By everybody I mean everybody.

    As much as they try to hurt your feelings, God is watching them. They just don’t appear to know it

  15. Fishy! Your assessment of “science and philosophy” (they’re not separate disciplines) is dependent on your fundamental premise.

    If you assume that an infinite power, intellect and will could not create an orderly Universe for His own purpose (complete with all the necessary physics and metaphysics) but an almighty Nothing can and does, then I suggest that your completely irrational superstition is way beyond any connection with Reality.

    Since your implicit Materialistic denial of any “metaphysical” component of Reality necessarily repudiates any immaterial things like consciousness, knowledge, reason etc. then I must conclude that all your mechanistic, deterministic “excretions of random brain chemistry” are entirely devoid of any metaphysical values like truth, goodness, beauty and all that.

    Of course you could not consider (a metaphysical function) giving me a cut from your wages or adulation because that would involve more metaphysical “stuff” like altruism, or justice, or something. Anyhow, I regard your random brain chemistry excretions as just that.

  16. Oh! Joyous axe person laying your blows to the root of the tree. Paul who was Saul said Faith comes through hearing; i.e. one can’t conceive or believe truth if one doesn’t even know that it exists.

    The alternative seems to smell a bit like the demonic promise that you can make it all up to suit yourself as in; “you will be as gods knowing good and evil”.

    You seem to be flogging the Kabbalah notion that god is completely unknowable so you just make your own version of God and Jesus and that’s as good or bad as any other version. (Except the Apostolic version, of course). Enjoying particular opprobrium from the “enlightened ones” are the Church Fathers, apologists, philosophers and theologians (like your hated Thomas Aquinas) who reasonably assume that all of Creation is consistent and orderly and, therefore, ultimately intelligible (although not immediately and completely) and that Faith and Reason are compatible and that where there is an apparent contradiction it’s because our understanding of one or the other or both is wrong. However, there are articles of Faith that, despite what Protestants and Modernists claim, are not open to “reinterpretation or re-meaning”.

  17. Your assessment of “science and philosophy” (they’re not separate disciplines) is dependent on your fundamental premise.

    *You* might base your assesement of evidence on a “fundamental premise”, but I don’t. The claim that materialism is in retreat simply isn’t true. Christian apologists like to lie about things like this because it’s the only thing they can do to keep the money rolling in. I bet J Warner Wallace lives in much nicer house than you or I.

    If you assume that an infinite power, intellect and will could not create an orderly Universe for His own purpose (complete with all the necessary physics and metaphysics) but an almighty Nothing can and does, then I suggest that your completely irrational superstition is way beyond any connection with Reality.

    I don’t start from the assumption that God doesn’t exist, I start from the assumption that we should only believe things if there’s sufficient evidence for them. As far as I can tell, not only is there insufficient evidence for God, there isn’t any at all.

    If I claimed the universe was created by a magic pixie called Tracey, I assume you wouldn’t think: “Well, the universe exists, so Tracey must be real.” In other words, I don’t assume that God couldn’t create the universe, I reject the claim that the existence of the universe is evidence for God, or evidence that the universe was created at all, for that matter. If it’s necessary for everything to be created, then God must have been created. If it’s not, then the universe doesn’t require creation. If it’s argued that God has to exist but the universe doesn’t, that’s just a special pleading fallacy.

    Since your implicit Materialistic denial of any “metaphysical” component of Reality necessarily repudiates any immaterial things like consciousness, knowledge, reason etc. then I must conclude that all your mechanistic, deterministic “excretions of random brain chemistry” are entirely devoid of any metaphysical values like truth, goodness, beauty and all that.

    I don’t deny the existence of truth, goodness, beauty or anything else you list. I just don’t think there’s anything immaterial about them. If consciousness is immaterial, why do we need to be unconscious for a third of our lives?

    Anyhow, I regard your random brain chemistry excretions as just that.

    1. Brain chemistry isn’t random.
    2. It’s illogical to dismiss my position by assuming I’m right. If I’m right, then I’m right, by definition!

  18. Joy,

    Take no notice of the nasty remarks.

    (‘Take no notice of the man behind the curtain’!) You mean well, but I’d actually have to be stupid not to have noticed the fact that the majority of Christians I’ve interacted with online have been horrible people to some degree or another. In fact, it’s the thing which has most surprised me, as I had the naive idea from my CoE upbringing that Christians were supposed to be nice as a bare minimum.

    As much as they try to hurt your feelings, God is watching them.

    It doesn’t hurt my feelings, but I get angry when my position is misrepresented, or when the LGBT community is attacked.

  19. Sorry for length of the comment and lateness.

    In fact, it’s the thing which has most surprised me, as I had the naive idea from my CoE upbringing that Christians were supposed to be nice as a bare minimum.

    That could be me talking, as with the prior sentence.

    It doesn’t hurt my feelings, but I get angry when my position is misrepresented,

    Well I find so much of it hurtful and it’s hurtful to watch others being hurt too.
    Nothing Christian about it. As you observe.
    Probably because you have a C of E background, you have the same concept of Jesus and God, although I accept you don’t believe *not trying to persuade you! I have discussed the topic for years with various atheists who rarely upset me with their views. My Dad is an atheist, my ex fiancé was too.

    or when the LGBT community is attacked.
    I don’t make special exceptions for that community but see people as people.
    It comes from years of patients and a sense that “there before the Grace of God” so to speak.
    Unkindness is not part of Christian teaching.
    As I said, whether or not the Christians you meet on line are making a good case is not, as you know, dispositive on God’s existence, though I will admit.
    The behaviours have tested mine to the limit.
    When you find that almost nobody believes the same as you, or seems to be commmign from the same place, it makes me feel like I’m deluding myself and completely alone. So I turned to my Chorleywood routes and find that it isn’t me, it’s all the others!
    Anyway,
    I’m glad it doesn’t hurt your feelings. If I don’t comment it isn’t that I agree with what’s being said. Just saying.

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