Summary Against Modern Thought: The Human Soul Is Created By God, Part III

This may be proved in three ways. The first...
This may be proved in three ways. The first…
See the first post in this series for an explanation and guide of our tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. All posts are under the category SAMT.

Previous post.

A continuation of the proof that the intellective soul is not physical and thus must come from God.
This will be wrapped up over the next two weeks. Yes, it’s long. But what astonishing things we are learning!

Chapter 88 Arguments designed to prove that the human soul is formed from semen (alternate translation) We’re still using the alternate translation.

1 There are, however, certain arguments which seem to militate against what we have said above.

2 From the fact that man is an animal inasmuch as he has a sensitive soul, and the concept of animal applies univocally to man and other animals, it seems to follow that man’s sensitive soul is of the same genus as the souls of other animals. Now, things of the same genus have the same manner of coming into being. Hence, the sensitive soul of man, just as of other animals, comes into being through a power in the semen. But in man the intellective and sensitive soul are, as shown above, the same in respect of substance. Seemingly, therefore, the intellective soul also is produced through a power in the semen

Notes Remember, this (including especially the next) are supposed counter-arguments, which will be rebutted over the next two weeks.

3 Moreover, as Aristotle teaches in the De generation animalium [II, 3], the fetus is an animal before becoming a man. But, during the time in which the fetus is an animal and not a man, it has a sensitive and not an intellective soul; and, just as in other animals, this sensitive soul in indubitably produced by the active power of the semen. And yet that same sensitive soul is potentially intellective, just as that animal is potentially a rational animal; and the notion that the supervening intellective soul is substantially distinct from the sensitive one has been refuted already. It therefore seems that the substance of the intellective soul is derived from a power in the semen.

4 Then, too, the soul, being the form of the body, is united to the body according to the soul’s own being. But things that we one in being are the term of one action and of one agent; for, if there were diverse agents, and, consequently, diverse actions, effects diverse in being would ensue. Hence, it is in the being of soul and body that the one action of one agent must terminate. But the body’s production is clearly due to the action of a power in the semen. Hence, the soul, which is the body’s form, is the effect of the same cause, and not of a separate agent.

5 Furthermore, it is by a power present in the emitted semen that man generates things specifically like himself. But any univocal agent generates such things by causing the form of the effect generated, which owes its specific nature to that form. Consequently, the human soul, whence man derives his specific nature, is produced by a power in the semen.

6 Then there is the argument of Apollinaris, that whoever completes a work co-operates with the agent, so that, if souls are created by God, He is responsible for completing the generation of children who are sometimes born of adulterers; and thus God co-operates with adulterers—which seems incongruous.

Notes To say the least!

7 Also, in a book ascribed to Gregory of Nyssa, there are arguments designed to prove the same thing. The author argues as follows. From the soul and the body there results one being, and this is one man. Hence, if the soul is made before the body, or the body before the soul, one and the same thing will be prior and posterior to itself; which does not seem possible. Body and soul, then, are produced simultaneously. But the formation of the body begins at the time when the semen is separated. Hence, the soul also is brought into being a a result of the separation of the semen.

8 Seemingly imperfect, moreover, is the operation of an agent which does not produce a thing in its entirely, but only some part of it. Suppose that God brought the soul into being and that the body was formed by a seminal power. Now, body and soul are parts of one being: man. So, on that hypothesis the operation of both God and the seminal power would seem to be imperfect; which obviously cannot be allowed. Therefore, man’s soul and body are produced by one and the same cause. But man’s body certainly is produced through a power residing in the semen. The same, therefore, is true of the soul.

9 Again, in everything generated from seed, all the parts of the thing generated are together contained in the seed virtually, though they appear not to be present actually. For example, in wheat or any other seed we observe that the plant itself, with stem, joints, fruit and tassel, are contained virtually in the original seed, and that afterwards the seed spreads forth and discloses itself, thus attaining perfection by a kind of natural resultance, without assuming anything extrinsic. Now, the soul certainly is part of man. Therefore, the human soul is virtually contained in the human seed, and does not originate from any external cause.

10 And again, things having the same development and the same term must have the same originative principle. But in the generation of a man we find the same development and term in the body as in the soul; for the manifestation of the soul’s operations goes hand in hand with the development in shape and size of the members of the body, the operation of the nutritive soul appearing first, and afterwards, that of the sensitive soul, and lastly, when the bodily development is complete, the operation of the intellective soul. Hence, both the body and the soul have the same source. But the body originates through the separation of the semen. The principle of the soul’s origin is, therefore, the same.

11 Furthermore, that which is conformed to a thing is made by the action of that to which it is conformed; the wax that is conformed to the seal receives this conformity from the seal’s impress. Now, clearly, the body of a man or of any animal is conformed to its own soul, for its organs are disposed in a manner befitting the psychic operations which are to be exercised by those organs. Hence, the body is formed by the action of the soul, and that is why Aristotle says in De anima II [4] that the soul is the efficient cause of the body. But this would not be so if the soul was not present in the semen; for the body is formed by the semen’s power. Therefore, the human soul is in the human seed, and thus owes its origin to the separation of that seed.

12 Likewise, nothing lives except by a soul. But the semen is a living entity. And this is evident for three reasons: because it is parted from a living being; because the semen exhibits vital heat and vital operation, which are the marks of a living thing; and because, if plant seeds were not possessed of life in themselves, they could not, when sown, obtain from the soil, which is inanimate, the heat indispensable to life. Therefore, the soul is in the semen, and thus originates with its separation.

Notes Notice the modern idea of reproducibility is not present in semen.

13 Moreover, if the soul did not, as we have shown, exist before the body, nor begin to exist with the separation of the semen, it follows that the formation of the body came first, the newly created soul being infused into it afterwards. But this, if true, would imply that the soul is for the sake of the body, since what exists on another’s account is posterior to it; the clothes are for the man. That notion, however, is not true, because the body is for the soul’s sake; the end is always nobler. It must, therefore, be said that the soul originates simultaneously with the separation of the semen.

You’re A Racist

Item Police investigate Cambridge University student who claimed ‘all white people are racist’ in massive Twitter rant

The Cambridge student wrote: ‘ALL white people are racist. White middle class, white working class, white men, white women, white gays, white children’

Police are investigating the student head of Cambridge’s equality group after he claimed that ‘all white people are racist’ and praised rioters in Dalston who lit bonfires and hurled petrol bombs at police.

Jason Osamede Okundaye, who runs the Black and Minority Ethnic society at the elite institution, posted the shocking tweets amid violent protests in east London last night over the death of Rashan Charles.

He said that white people had ‘colonised’ Dalston and ordered them to ‘go back’ to areas such as Exeter and ‘Solihurst’ (sic).

Whites “colonised” Dalston?

Item Evergreen State College professor Naima Lowe: all whites are racist (video).

Quote: “…the white supremacy that lives and breathes within every single white person standing here right now….If what I’m say right now pisses you off or makes you feel targeted and defensive, good.”

It goes on. I’m not certain, but it seems this professor is angriest at white “gays”. But it may be that she was just incoherent, a not unusual state for professors at Evergreen.

Item Head of UW-Madison student gov. leaves in a huff; blames racism, oppression.

“She added ‘all white people are racist’ and that her chairmanship of the Associated Students of Madison made her ‘a token for white supremacists.'”

The female who said that would, I think we can all agree, receive high marks in her college courses. She has assimilated the lessons taught to an admirable degree, so much so that she doesn’t have to think: she can just spout.

Item Last one: Of course all white people are racist.

When the head of the crown prosecution service said he believed almost all British people were racist, he was roundly condemned. It was a moment of political correctness gone mad, commentators said. But one thing no one seems to have paused to consider was the possibility that he was right. In fact, what about: all white people are racist.

I don’t mean they are all wilful bigots, of course. But racism is a combination of prejudice and power. And sadly prejudice is a deeply ingrained human trait.

I include that one because it isn’t as recent (2002).

Well, and there it is. All whites are racist, because all whites have “power” and “privilege”. And how do we know all whites have power and privilege? Because they are white. Hard to refute or talk somebody out of an argument as ironclad as that.

Now this attitude wouldn’t be so bad, because we expect people of like races to band together and say disparaging things about outgroups, except that it appears—and I say “appears” because I have not done a comprehensive survey—a great number of folks who hold that all whites are racist are themselves white. Unlike Original Sin, which can be washed away with some (blessed) water, racism is a permanent and ineradicable stain.

True, a large number of non-whites also hold all whites are racist. See Twitter, for example, whenever some new demographic report comes out forecasting the precise moment whites will not longer be a majority in the once United States. Unkind would be the politest way to put the responses from non-whites. Though gleeful bloodlust is often more accurate.

When this transformation from majority to just-another-minority happens, I can’t see non-whites and white progressives giving up casting “Racist!” spells. It’s been too useful to them. Whites will still have power and privilege, they will say, even in those places where whites are strict minorities or even non-existent. White fumes will linger, somehow. It will be at that point that non-whites will be made honorary whites because of their past association with whites. East Asians will make the list first.

What I have found works, is that when confronted by “You’re a racist!”, answer “I’m also a sexist” or something similar. The effect on your opponent is like sticking a pin in an inner tube: a small pop! followed by a hissing withering deflation, leaving only a formless, flaccid pile of rubber.

Racist! is supposed to be devastating, a miniature thermonuclear psychic grenade. The unfortunate hit with it is meant to freeze, consider deeply his crime, and then issue a stream of protestations and apologies.

Start apologizing for imaginary crimes and you’ll never stop.

Special Update “White people are born into not being human,” said the lady who appears to be sheltering a small army under her clothing.

Haaretz: ‘Dirty Jews’ and the Christian Right

Before you get frothy, the title is not mine. It belongs to Haaretz. The writer is one Josh Lambert.

The subtitle: “Brilliant actors like Larry David and Sarah Silverman are challenging America’s powerful religious, family-friendly culture and asserting their Jewishness by glorifying obscenity.”

Now I know there are many Jewish readers here, and that they run more on the Torah-believing side than the secular. I’d like to ask their opinion about Lambert’s piece.

Is it, as the subtitle declares, as asservation of secular Judaism to “glorify” obscenity? We can take it as read that it is not a claim to orthodox or conservative religious Judaism.

Before answering, let’s look deeper into the piece.

“In a tidy coincidence, two separate videos went viral last week, demonstrating that American Jews’ love affair with obscenity is still going strong. Sarah Silverman talks about being visited by Jesus Christ, who asks her to spread a message about women’s reproductive rights…” By “reproductive” Silverman means, of course, non-reproductive.

Lambert is claiming that “American Jews” have a “love affair with obscenity”. Is that so? Again, I take it he must mean Jews as a culture or race and not religion.

As far as I know, only Silverman has publicly called herself a “dirty Jew,” purring the words alluringly in her 2005 performance film “Jesus Is Magic,” but David’s gleeful, exuberant and inimitable spewing of obscenities suggests he might not exactly mind being thought of as a dirty Jew, either.

In my recently published book, “Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture,” I explain why, beginning in the late 19th century, American Jews have found the explicit representation of sex, and four-letter words, so very useful. The answers vary: Some Jews use obscenity to fight anti-Semitism, while others use it to rewrite traditional Jewish stories in a contemporary idiom.

How obscenity can “fight” and not cause “anti-Semitism” is anybody’s guess, but rewriting traditional stories in an obscene way can only be seen as blasphemous. No?

“If you watch cable television and listen to podcasts, you might think that there’s no longer any regulation of obscenity”, yet Lambert goes on to lament that there are still anti-obscenity laws on the books, particularly in broadcasting.

Lambert is unhappy that Democratic Senator James Exon of Nebraska, a Christian, sponsored the Communications Decency Act, which attempted to control obscenity on line. Lambert fails to tell readers the act was neutered by the ACLU.

What Lambert does remember is that “the senator introduced into the Congressional Record letters of support for his proposal from Evangelical groups like the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council.” Well, and so he did. That organizations against smut should have something to say on the subject shouldn’t be surprising.

The contemporary Christian right has a much more complex and self-aware relationship with American Jews [now]…Today’s anti-porn organizations, even if funded by Christians, often seek out Jews to sit on their boards — though mostly they attract only very marginal rabbis and other Jewish crackpots.

I can’t tell if he means “marginal rabbis” or only those Jews against porn are “crackpots”. Can you?

Somehow Lambert isn’t pleased with deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, because Scalia said “small-town broadcasters…[with their] down-home local guests probably employ vulgarity less than big-city folks [and the] foul-mouthed glitterati from Hollywood.”

This is, of course, observationally true and known by everybody.

Scalia did not, of course, go so far as to suggest that the one demographic group most insistently associated both with American “big-city” life and with “Hollywood” — Jews — tend to speak more obscenely than other Americans. If he had wanted to, though, he could not have a better illustration of his hypothesis than Larry David and Sarah Silverman.

So Lambert thought he caught a whiff of “anti-Semitism”, but then he substantiated Scalia’s point with prime examples. He then says:

These Christian campaigns against obscenity…may help to explain why, in a media environment in which the representation of sex and the use of taboo language smacks increasingly of banality, brilliant performers like David and Silverman continue not only to assert their Jewishness emphatically, in virtually every one of their performances, but also to glory in and glorify the use of such language.

There it is again. Lambert equates (secular) Jewishness with obscenity. He closes with this.

Especially because the Christian right goes to such great lengths to demonstrate that Jews should not feel excluded from its initiatives — who loves Jews nowadays more than the Christian right, right? — identifying oneself as a “dirty Jew” in 21st-century America is one way to signal your opposition not just to the banalities of the market-driven family-friendly culture, but also to the nation’s most powerful socially, religiously and politically reactionary movement.

Evangelicals, the largest group on the Christian right, go out of their way to include and support Jews. This is true, as most know. But “dirty Jew[s]” rebel—and should, Lambert implies—against the “family-friendly culture” also beloved by Evangelicals.

If he is right, then shouldn’t the Christian right turn its back on secular Jews who on purpose and by design “glorify” in obscenity, blasphemy, porn, and other matters inimical to Christianity? Or would that only bring charges of “anti-Semitism”?

Why Is A Living Planet A Heresy?

I can’t prove that holding that the earth is alive and possesses an intellect and will is heresy, but I think it is for the following reasons.

On my Stream article “Vatican Hosts Conference With Pantheistic Theme: The planet is not alive“, a commenter calling himself Mensa Member said:

I can’t imagine how seeing the earth as an organism is heresy. There is nothing wrong with something being organism. It strikes me as an odd point to disagree with.

Besides, I suspect he wasn’t using “organism” in the narrow biological sense but in the “complex interdependent whole” sense. It’s common usage.

The “he” refers to Johnny Schellnhuber, who does indeed hold that the earth is some kind of giant, self-aware computer, i.e. that it is alive and possesses rationality. See the links to the original stories showing this. Whether Johnny really believes that is irrelevant here. We’re interested in the proposition itself.

Mensa is right, of course, that some when they say “the earth is alive”, they mean it in the metaphorical sense of a “complex interdependent whole”. Yet this “whole” is everywhere trivially true. The place where life exists, even if it’s a spaceship isolated from all contact, is a “complex interdependent whole”. Nothing, then, can imperil this state on earth, except by killing every living thing. And the only real risk of that on earth is from the Lord or from giant rocks from space. An increase of temperature of a degree—or even ten, or twenty—is not going to come close.

It is absurd to suggest the earth is alive. It has none of the characteristics of a “life form”. And since it is not alive, it is even more absurd to suggest it is a rational animal, akin to men. If the earth were alive, it must mean that either we are part of that life and not therefore independently alive, but only something like earth-pancreases, or that we are separate from it, intruding upon and inside this life, like a cancer. Indeed, that latter claim is made by environmentalists.

Suggesting we are earth-pancreases, and thus that we do not possess free will, but that we only serve the “body” of the planet, is surely heretical.

If we are a cancer, how did we get here? It is either by transplantation or by evolution. Transplantation is a heresy. We are not an alien invasive species. This is also quite shockingly an anti-Science position! No environmentalist makes the claim of our transplantation directly, but it is often hinted at.

If we rational animals got here by evolution, then rational beings are a cancer, and this is heretical. There are too many instances of God giving people dominion over the world or certain lands to say we are a cancer. You don’t put cancer in charge.

Skipping over that difficulty, suppose as all believers in Gaia (in whatever form) suppose, that the earth is a rational animal of some kind. Then the earth—excuse me, Earth—has free will. What choices can it make? What choices did it make? Has Earth sinned? Is it in need of salvation?

Earth is clearly unlike angels, which are beings of pure intellect and will. Earth is made of rock. We are made of bones and blood. And both we and Earth possess intellect and will. Now angels also possess free will (and intellect) and have made their choice (most likely at the time of their creation) to serve God or rebel.

Earth did not have a moment of instantaneous creation, but evolved. So it must either have been like Mary and conceived without sin, or that it at some point sinned. Either way, Earth has killed many men. Landslides and tree falls (most recently), hurricanes, lightning, fires, and so on.

If Earth was conceived without sin, then since Earth has free will all those killings were deserved. Next time some “natural” event whacks a few of us, best we can say is, “We had it coming.” Earth is, after all, doing these killings with God’s knowledge.

But if Earth sinned, then it is clear we have a serial murderer on our hands. We are thus justified in taking action against Earth, like cutting her trees down and releasing chocking gases into the atmosphere; building dikes and levees; try to warm the place to make it more comfortable.

If Earth is alive in the way Schellnhuber says, and if it was not conceived without win, then this is war.