Thomas Aquinas on Embryoes

Filed in Politics, Religion, Science, Social IssuesTags: Christianity, Cloning, Missouri, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

The spin:

St. Thomas Aquinas, the premier teacher in the Roman Catholic tradition, did not think the early fetus was a person - "ensouled," in his language. St. Thomas believed the early life in the womb received a spiritual soul - and became a baby - only after three to four months. Thus, embryonic cells in a lab dish or frozen away are certainly not "ensouled."

The reality

It is true that Aquinas did believe that the soul was not infused at the beginning of a pregnancy. This is because Aquinas followed Aristotle’s embryology (circa 300 B.C.) and believed that an embryo was not formed enough to receive a soul until well into its development. However, 21st century embryology provides clear evidence that everything the soul needs is present from the first moment of every human being’s existence - as numerous Catholic scholars have explained. Aquinas would undoubtedly accept this evidence and agree with the Church’s current teaching.

Further, St. Thomas also believed the intentional ending of a pregnancy at any stage was a sin - regardless of when the soul was present. Thus, he remains firmly within the tradition of the Church in respecting human life at all stages.

More parsing of the original op-ed, later.

Via John Combest.

Car/Phone Theft Update

Filed in Personal

They caught her.

OYB June 3

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: II Samuel 20:14-26, II Samuel 21
NT: Acts 1
Ps: Psalm 121
Pr: Proverbs 16:18

Today´s notable verse:

The LORD will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life

Psalm 121:7 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - What are some ways you have dealt with pride in your life in the past? Have you been able to overcome issues of judging others? Thinking you are all that? How did you overcome these pride issues?

[Note: the question of the day is in response to today's Proverbs 16:18 passage: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."]

To combat an issue like pride and being judgemental, we must remember first that God gave us the capacity and the responsibility to control our thoughts:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Second, we must remember that our thoughts are to be obedient to Christ, and are to reflect His Lordship in our lives and our expression of His love. This reflection demands humility:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3 (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

Finally, we must realize that what we say is the natural progression of our thoughts and our attitudes:

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 (NIV)

Ultimately, we must remember that we are called first and foremost to deal with the glaring sin in our own lives before we could ever hope to address someone else's sin. I have enough to handle with this plank in my own eye; why would I concern myself with the speck of dust in my brother's eye?