Summary Against Modern Thought: The Soul Begins At Conception, 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.

Part III of three parts, showing life begins at conception. Like last week, do your homework and review first.

Chapter 83 That the human soul begins to exist when the body does (alternate translation) We’re still using the alternate translation.

30 Furthermore, if the knowledge of conclusions were as natural to the soul as knowledge of principles, then everyone’s judgment concerning conclusions, as well as principles, would be the same, since things natural are the same for all. But not all persons share the same judgment in respect to conclusions, but only to principles.

Clearly, then, the knowledge of principles is natural to us, but not the knowledge of conclusions. The non-natural, however, is acquired by us through the natural; thus it is through our hands that we produce, in the world of things outside us, all our artifacts. Therefore, we have no knowledge of conclusions except that which we acquire from principles.

Notes Of course, agreement on principles is also hard work.

31 Again, since nature is always directed to one thing, of one power there must naturally be one object, as color of sight, and sound of hearing. Hence, the intellect, being one power, has one natural object, of which it has knowledge essentially and naturally. And this object must be one under which are included all things known by the intellect; just as under color are included all colors essentially visible. Now, this is none other than being [ens].

Our intellect, therefore, knows being naturally, and whatever essentially belongs to a being as such; and upon this knowledge is founded the knowledge of first principles, such as the impossibility of simultaneously affirming and denying, and the like. Thus, only these principles are known naturally by our intellect, while conclusions are known through them; just as, through color, sight is cognizant of both common and accidental sensibles.

Notes The study of being, i.e. metaphysics, is the highest subject, and its relation to God the “Queen of sciences” (Newman).

32 And again. That which we acquire through the senses did not exist in the soul before its union with the body. But our knowledge of principles themselves is derived from sensible things; if, for instance, we had not perceived some whole by our senses, we would be unable to understand the principle that the whole is greater than its parts; even as a man born blind is utterly insensible of colors. Therefore, neither did the soul prior to its union with the body have any knowledge of principles; much less, of other things. Hence, Plato’s argument that the soul existed before its union with the body is without solidity.

Notes That the whole is greater than the parts is one of those things all know is true, but which cannot be proved (except in limited instances). This proves empiricism is false. Reincarnation is defined then disproved in the rest of this chapter.

33 There is also the argument that if all souls existed before the bodies to which they are united, it would then seemingly follow that the same soul is united to different bodies according to the vicissitudes of time—an obvious consequence of the doctrine of the eternity of the world.

For from the hypothesis of the engendering of human beings from eternity it follows that an infinite number of human bodies have come into being and passed away throughout the whole course of time. Hence, two possibilities: either an actually infinite number of souls pre-existed, if each soul is united to a single body, or, if the number of souls is finite, then the same souls are united at one time to these particular bodies and at another time to those.

And seemingly we would be faced with the same consequence if we held that souls existed before bodies but that they were not produced from eternity. For, even if it be supposed that the engendering of men has not always been in progress, nevertheless, in the very nature of the case, it indubitably can be of infinite duration; because every man is so constituted by nature that, unless he be impeded accidentally, he is able to beget another man, even as he himself was begotten of another. But this would be impossible if, given the existence of a finite number of souls, one soul cannot be united to several bodies. That is why a number of proponents of the doctrine that souls exist before bodies espoused the theory of transmigration; which cannot possibly be true. Therefore, souls did not exist before bodies.

34 Now, the impossibility of one soul’s being united to diverse bodies is clearly seen in the light of the following considerations. Human souls do not differ specifically from one another, but only numerically; otherwise, men also would differ specifically, one from the other. Material principles, however, are the source of numerical distinction. It follows that the distinction among human souls must be attributed to something material in character—but not so as to imply that matter is a part of the soul, because the soul is an intellectual substance, and no such substance has matter, as we have proved above.

It therefore remains that in the manner explained above the diversity and plurality of souls result from their relationship to the diverse matters to which they are united; so that, if there are different bodies, they must have different souls united to them. One soul, then, is not united to several bodies.

35 Moreover, it was shown above that the soul is united to the body as its form. But forms must be proportionate to their proper matters, since they are related to one another as act to potentiality, the proper act corresponding to the proper potentiality. Therefore, one soul is not united to a number of bodies.

36 We argue further from the fact that the power of the mover must be proportionate to the thing movable by it, for not every power moves every movable. But, even if the soul were not the form of the body, it could not be said that the soul is not the body’s mover, for we distinguish the animate from the inanimate by sense and movement. It therefore follows that the distinction among souls must correspond to the distinction among bodies.

37 Likewise, in the realm of things subject to generation and corruption it is impossible for one and the same thing to be reproduced by generation; for generation and corruption are movements in respect of substance, so that in things generated and corrupted the substance does not remain the same, as it does in things moved locally. But, if one soul is united successively to different generated bodies, the self-same man will come into being again through generation. This follows necessarily for Plato, who said that man is a “soul clothed with a body.” This consequence also holds for any others. For a thing’s unity follows upon its form, even as its being does, so that those things are one in number whose form is one in number. It is, therefore, impossible for one soul to be united to different bodies. From this it follows, too, that souls were not in existence before bodies.

38 With this truth the Catholic faith expressly agrees. For it is said in a Psalm (32:15): “He who made the hearts of every one of them”; namely, because God created a soul specially for each one, and neither created them all together, nor united one to different bodies. In this connection also we read in the work On the Teachings of the Church: “We declare that human souls were not created from the beginning together with other intellectual natures, nor all at the same time, as Origen imagines.”

Chapter 84 Solution of the prececding argument (alternate translation) We’re still using the alternate translation.

1 The arguments in proof of the thesis that souls have existed from eternity, or that at least they existed before bodies, are easily solved.

Notes Review Part I for these arguments.

2 As to the first argument, the statement that the soul has the power to exist always, must be granted. But it must be borne in mind that the power and potentiality of a thing extend not to what was, but to what is or will be; hence, there is no possibility with respect to things past. Therefore, from the fact that the soul has the power to exist always it can be concluded, not that the soul always was, but that it always will be.

3 Moreover, that to which a power is ordained does not follow from the power except on the supposition of the latter’s existence. Therefore, though the soul have the power to exist always, it cannot be inferred that the soul does exist always, except after it has actually received this power; and if it is assumed that the soul has received this power from eternity, the point that has to be proved, namely, the soul’s existence from eternity, will be begged.

4 The second argument, concerning the eternity of the truth which the soul understands, calls for a distinction. In one way, this eternity can be taken to refer to the thing understood; in another, to that by which it is understood. In the first case, the thing understood would be eternal, but not the one who understands; in the second, eternity would be on the side of the soul which understands.

Now, the understood truth is eternal, not in the latter but in the former reference; since, as we have already clearly shown, the intelligible species, whereby our soul understands truth, come to us repeatedly via the phantasms through the operation of the agent intellect. It cannot, then, he inferred that the soul is eternal, but that the truths understood are based upon something eternal; for, indeed, their foundation is in the first truth, as in the universal cause embracing all truth.

But the soul stands in relation to this eternal entity, not as subject to form, but as thing to proper end, since the true is the good of the intellect, and its end. Now, argument concerning a thing’s duration can be drawn from its end, just as the question of its beginning is arguable through its efficient cause; for, indeed, a thing ordained to an eternal end must be capable of enduring forever. That is why the soul’s immortality can be proved from the eternity of intelligible truth, but not its eternity. And what we have already said on the question of the eternity of creatures makes it quite clear that the eternity of the soul cannot be demonstrated from the eternity of its efficient cause.

5 The third argument, in regard to the perfection of the universe, is void of necessity. For the perfection of the universe envisages species, not individuals; since the universe is constantly receiving the addition of myriad individuals of pre-existing species. Human souls, however, do not differ in specific nature but only in number, as was shown above. Hence, it is not incompatible with the perfection of the universe if new souls be created.

6 And from this we see the solution of the fourth argument. For in the Book of Genesis (2:2) it is said at the same time that “God ended His work,” and that “He rested from an His work which He had done.” Hence, just as the consummation or perfection of creatures is considered in terms of species, not individuals, so God’s resting must be understood to refer to cessation from forming new species, but not new individuals, of which others specifically alike have existed before. Thus, since all human souls are of one species, and likewise all men, it is not inconsistent with God’s rest if He creates new souls every day.

Notes And, anyway, change still happens.

7 Now, it should be known that in Aristotle we do not find the statement that the human intellect is eternal; yet he customarily says this of those things which he thinks have existed always. But he does say that the human intellect is everlasting; and this can be said of those things that always will be, even if they have not always been. Hence, when Aristotle, in Metaphysics XI [3], excepted the intellective soul from the condition of other forms, he did not say that it was prior to matter, but Plato said this of the Ideas; and so it would seem that Aristotle might consistently have said something of the sort here about the soul; but what he did say was that the soul remains after the body.

Furry Muslim Transgender Methodist Deacons

Image above is from this video of a ceremony.

Headline: How Can Literature Resist Islamophobia? One Writer Answers: Gay Muslim Furry Romance.

The Time He Desires is the story of Aziz, a cheetah in a faltering heterosexual marriage who explores the boundaries of his sexuality with the help of a gay fox…

Gold’s been writing furry romance novels full-time for several years, after bouncing from chemical engineering to business school to zoology.


After he was laid off in 2010 with a generous severance package, his husband said…


Muslims, queers, and furries all share the experience of having been marginalized by the mainstream, and of being continually forced to justify their existence. But just as public opinion on LGBTQ folks has softened over the last few years, furries seem to be enjoying a break as well.


Even just one year ago, I’d have bet good money that the following sentence would never have appeared in the English language:

Back in March of 2016, a group of Syrian refugees was temporarily placed in the same hotel as a furry conference, resulting in a heartwarming cultural exchange as the con attendees welcomed the residents to their new country.

Quoting two truths: (1) “The key factor in expanding tolerance for queers and furries seems to be exposure.” (2) “In fact, the furry fandom may be among the best possible communities to expand religious tolerance.”


Headline: The United Methodist Church has appointed a transgender deacon.

The bishop spoke the traditional words as she placed her hands on the new deacon named M with just a slight difference from the way those words have always been spoken before.

“Pour out your Holy Spirit upon M,” the bishop said. “Send them now to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, to announce the reign of God and to equip the church for ministry.”

Not “send him now” or “send her now.” “Send them now.”

M is them.

He who controls words controls the world, controls the ability, or, more crucially, the inability, to think. We cannot tell initially from the picture whether M is a man pretending to be a woman, or a woman pretending to be a man. If pressed, we might say the latter, because “them” is ugly.

In the Northern Illinois Conference, where Barclay was commissioned Sunday, Bishop Sally Dyck said in a statement, “While M’s journey over the last few years has included gender identity, all of those who were commissioned or ordained on Sunday have been on some kind of journey that has brought them to new places of faith, life and relationships. Likewise, I hope the church will find itself at a new place in the near future when it comes to full inclusion.”

I promise—I swear—I did not monkey with the female “Bishop’s” name.

Anyway, it used to be in the Christian religion that inclusion meant accepting that all are stained by sin and stand in need of salvation (this absolutely includes Yours Truly). That meaning has morphed into its inverse: now, the lone sin is to say actual sin exists.

A year or so of reading theology — feminist theology and queer theology included — helped [M] Barclay realize that they weren’t straight after all. Barclay came out, initially as a lesbian woman.

So the guess about the picture was correct.

It also used to be, in the Christian religion, that “queer theology”, if it meant anything, would have been a sort of cautionary tour guide of Sodom and Gomorrah as gateway to Hades. It now seeks excuses for certain activities that people well know to be sinful but want not to be.

Still, Barclay’s gender identity is a cause of concern for some in the church. The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, general manager of the United Methodist group Good News, which advocates against allowing same-sex marriage or gay clergy, told United Methodist News Service that most people in Good News believe people should live as the gender they are assigned at birth, though transgender people should be welcome in churches.

Lord help us. Assigned at birth forsooth. And tell me, oh great Washington Post, how does the person at the birth “assign” the “gender” to the newborn? Toss a die? Consult the Farmer’s Almanac? Or perhaps—just perhaps—use the clues every reality-based person for all time used?

You Lie! Said the Geocentrist to the Catholic Scientist — Guest Post by Bob Kurland

Note: this post first appeared on Reflections of a Catholic Scientist.

“People give ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but the sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth.” –Martin Luther, Table Talk of Martin Luther
“The plain and obvious sense of these verses [Gen 1:14-19] is that God created the celestial bodies immediately and instantly, solely by His own omnipotent power and without support from natural processes over long ages of time as the idea of cosmic evolution suggests. That this is indeed the way the Lord created the universe is confirmed by the commentaries of the church fathers like St. Ephrem the Syrian…”–Dr. Thomas Seiler, Cosmology, Thermodynamics and the Christian Doctrine of Creation (

Last night I dreamt that I was judge, prosecutor, defense attorney and defendant in a trial in which I was accused of heresy, because I believed in the scientific evidence for cosmology and evolution, rather than the literal truth of Genesis: my conversion to the Catholic faith was, therefore, a fraud. Here, as best as I can recall (having fudged the details) is an account of that trial. (I’m not learned in the law, and it was a dream, so …legal beagles, please excuse the deviations from procedure.)

The Indictment

PROSECUTOR, GEOCENTRIST [Opening Case]: The defendant has foresworn the baptismal vows he made on conversion to the Catholic faith; he has traduced the role of Scripture in the Dogma and Doctrine of the Church by proposing allegorical interpretations consistent with unproved scientific theories–the Big Bang, evolution. The defendant, Mr. Kurland, has attempted to hoodwink faithful Catholics by presenting nonsensical arguments of scientists who refuse to accept the limits of science and the reality of the single universe that God created for us, created at a single time, to adore as part of His overall creation.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY, JESUIT SCIENTIST: Objection, m’Lord, Judge Kurland! Please ask the prosecution to refer to the defendant by his proper title, “Dr. Kurland”.

JUDGE: Prosecutor Kurland, please refer to the defendant by his proper title, Dr. Kurland.

PROSECUTOR: To continue after this untimely interruption! Further, he has falsely declared that our Holy Mother Church approves of these heresies, by taking arguments from recent Encyclicals out of context and ignoring edicts of Church Councils from Medieval times. He has tried to reconcile the teachings of the Catholic Church with fallacious modern scientific theories, particularly those of quantum mechanics (1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6).

For these offenses and others too unspeakable to mention, we demand that the defendant be banned from blogging and writing, and sentenced to hard time in a room where he will encounter his secret fear.

The Defense

DEFENSE ATTORNEY, JESUIT SCIENTIST: Cross-examination of Prosecutor [Question (defense attorney)]: My learned geocentrist—what would you say about this comment by a fourth century sage:

Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances,… and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all that we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, lest the unbeliever see only ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.

Response (prosecutor): I would say that “sage” was probably a pagan, and knew nothing about Christianity.

Response (defense attorney): Then you would be surprised to learn that the sage was St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the great theologians and interpreters of our faith. The quote was taken from “De Genesi Litteram (The Literal Meaning of Genesis)”.

Question (defense attorney): You said the defendant

falsely declared that our Holy Mother Church approves of these heresies, by taking arguments from recent Encyclicals out of context and ignoring edicts of Church Councils from Medieval times. He has tried to reconcile the teachings of the Catholic Church with fallacious modern scientific theories.

How do reconcile that comment with following quotes from Pope St. John Paul II?

[T]here is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points.

Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.

nterjection (judge): You’re getting off-track, Defense Attorney Kurland. Get to the point!

Reply (defense attorney): My apologies, M’Lord, Judge Kurland. I was trying to show that the prosecutor’s statement is not correct if he means to imply that the Church does not approve of scientific discoveries. May I continue?

Reply (judge): Proceed, but keep it relevant.

Question (defense attorney): According to posts on the web site of a group you represent, both evolution and the Big Bang cosmology are false, heresies that contradict scripture. Is that correct?

Response (prosecutor): It is indeed. Unscientific, false, heretical.

Question (defense attorney): What do you say then to the fact that cornerstone, ground-breaking theories underlying evolution and the Big Bang cosmology were produced by Catholic religious: genetics by Br. Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian Friar, and the Big Bang hypothesis by Abbe Fr. Georg LeMaitre (which he called “The Primeval Atom”).

Response (prosecutor): I’d say that religious can commit heresies too. Look at Giordano Bruno.

Interjection (judge): That is quite enough.

Interjection (defendant): The prosecutor is showing a bias and a disregard of reality.

Interjection (judge): Mr. Kurland, that last comment was entirely out of order (although I agree with it). Be careful or I’ll eject you from the court.

Objection (defense attorney): M,Lord, Judge Kurland, again, just to keep the record straight, the defendant’s title is Dr. Kurland.

Reply (judge): duly noted.

Question (defense attorney): You said the defendant has attempted to reconcile the teachings of the Catholic Church with contemporary science, including quantum mechanics. Can you point out any errors in theology he has discussed?

Response (prosecutor): No I can’t, but I bet there are some.

Question (defense attorney): Are there any parts of modern science you think are valid representations of how the world works? And following that, if some parts are valid, why are others not?

Response (prosecutor): I can’t in a limited space answer that question.

Comment (defense attorney): In other words, you can’t answer the question and the charge is not justified.

Interjection (judge): This farce has gone on long enough.


At this point the dream ended, as the Judge was pronouncing the verdict “I find the defendant ——” (Dear reader, you fill in the blank.) And I never did get around to finding out whether I was guilty of heresy, but I hope and pray that I am not, asking God for guidance.

Oh Tranny Boy

So this mustachioed and muscled boy who calls himself a girl is breaking all the girls sporting records at Cromwell High School in Connecticut.

His feats are portrayed in the news as being genuine accomplishments. The boy’s name is Yearwood, and he “won the girls 100- and 200-meter dashes”. His aide allowed the girls “4×100-meter relay team [to] take second place.” And he “ran 11.99 seconds in the 100 and 26.34 in the 200.” Fast.

This brings to mind an old question put to feminists.

If you feminists were so serious about equality between the sexes, the poser went, then you should argue for the elimination of sex separation in sports.

A moment’s (or more) thought reveals that if this logical conclusion were implemented, then no woman would ever again bow her head to receive a medal.

Sport would be dominated by men, for the obvious reason that men are superior to women in athletic ability, especially at the top. Even feminists could see this (or used to be able to see this), which is why some discrimination by sex was seen by them as a good thing; or at least a thing not to be mentioned. (Except for calls for “equal” funding.)

Those were the old days. Discrimination by sex is no longer seen necessary or a good, and who gets to be a male or female is now a matter of choice.

Yearwood pretends, or may even believe, he is a girl, and is so allowed to compete against the other girls. Not only that, other people also pretend, and again some might even believe, Yearwood is a girl and write of him as if he were a girl.

Now most folks, like you, have not yet departed from reality and know Yearwood is a boy. The authorities at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), “which governs sanctioned high school sports in the state”, know Yearwood is a boy, but they are allowing him to compete as if he were a girl.

“The school district, which had supported [Yearwood’s] transition in middle school, determined that she was eligible to participate on the girls’ team.”

There was, of course, no physical transition. Yearwood started life as a boy, entered middle school as a boy, and will grow into manhood and remain a man throughout the rest of his life. No drugs, surgery, clothing choice or application of makeup can ever change this.

The transition, then, was a mental one, in Yearwood and in those surrounding him. There is the possibility of genuine gender dysphoria in poor Yearwood, a horrifying mental illness. This malady is analogous to the lost souls who think they are Napoleon. Delusions-of-grandeur or megalomania, they call it. Believing yourself to be somebody who it is impossible for you to be.

Very well, a departure from sanity of that sort might describe poor Yearwood; but, of course, only a psychiatrist or psychologist could tell us for certain.

How then do we explain the welter of people “supporting” Yearwood? What causes an otherwise sane person to call a boy “she”, or to pretend that a boy beating a girl in a race is as if a girl was beating a girl? What causes otherwise sensible authorities to say something like the following:

According the CIAC handbook, it is fundamentally unjust and contrary to applicable state and federal law to preclude a student from participation on a gender specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student.

Before Yearwood competed, the other schools “were notified…and didn’t raise any issues.”

Why not?

Can it be insanity, genuine insanity, that describes what has happened to the people surrounding Yearwood? Is this entire corner of Connecticut suffering gender-dysphoria-once-removed? This seems unlikely, because genuine insanity is rare, and it would be difficult to explain how this malady struck so many so quickly in such a small place. (Fluoride in the water?)

Ignorance is a ready explanation. People might really think Yearwood is a girl because he says he is. But that doesn’t wash, not in general, because the commonsense knowledge of daily life teaches everybody the difference between the sexes. People will know, but might be reluctant to admit, Yearwood is a boy.

There are only two live possibilities: fundamental error, and lying.

Fundamental error sees Yearwood not as a girl, but as a new kind of creature, a “transgender”. This new not-quite-human creature holds the power to be a boy yet be a girl, a magical transformation which occurs by incanting “I am a girl”. This just is to believe in magic.

Yet I think lying accounts for a most people’s reactions. They will say or act as if Yearwood is a girl, if only to shut up the errorists, who are a vocal, strident crowd.