November 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm
Pope John Paul II saw Thomas’ definition of man—a rational animal—as not fully adequate. He wrote his book, translated into English as “The Acting Person”, to amplify that which man represents: to give a fuller meaning to what man is.
Pivotal in this fuller description is the idea of “person”. I think it is pertinent here to ask the question: Was Jesus biologically human? Was he a rational animal? Or was he much, much more?
Traditional theology speaks of the hypo-static union, a union of Jesus’ humanity with his divinity. So, we have two natures united in one “Person” in the Person of Jesus. I think it good to reflect on this a bit. If, in Jesus’ “Person”—as the eternally Begotten Son of God—two “natures” can be united, then is it possible that in the “person-hood” of mankind, the animal nature and the spiritual nature are united?
Looking at all this from a different angle, “biological” animals—apes, dolphins, dogs, etc—have a kind of intelligence. Dogs, for example, can find ways to get at food. They employ strategies. So, as part of their animality there is also found a type, limited though it is, of rationality. To put what I’m getting at more forcefully, let me just say that I believe what truly separates us from the entire animal and plant kingdoms is our consciousness—that we are aware that we are aware. This is the central focus of the first 100 pages of Pope John Paul’s “The Acting Person”.
In the Divine dispensation of things, wherein, Christ will become all in all, a kind of summing up of all of creation in his sacred humanity, it would make “sense” (if you will) that the entire animal kingdom should be “summed up” in our humanity. Hence, I favor a kind of continuity of the level of beings, with man above the animal in a real and distinct fashion, but, still, at the same time, united to it. In similar fashion, then, our humanity, assumed by Jesus Christ, is united in his Person, so that he can be “all in all”.
IOW, I think it is entirely possible that there is a union of “natures” in man—with the animal united to, but yet distinct from, his spiritual nature, a spiritual nature that makes him self-aware, and that bestows upon him the capacity for freedom.
Just some thoughts.
November 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm
I should add that though there may be “two” natures united in man—a biological and a spiritual—they function in an undivided way. We, nevertheless, “feel” this distinction because of sin: “The Spirit is willing, but the Flesh is weak.”
Besides pav being an incoherent bloviator for his chosen imaginary god, I'd like to see him produce evidence that proves that animals and plants are not "aware" (whatever that means) and that they are not "aware" that they are "aware" or unaware.
It always amazes me when anyone (and it's mostly religious zombies) believes that humans are "above" animals (or plants). I would really enjoy watching pav walk right up to a Tiger in the wild, and try to talk it into believing that it is below him. I'd like to see him try to convince a Water Hemlock plant that he is "above" it by eating a mouthful of it and surviving. I'd like to see him convince the Bristlecone Pine known as Methuselah that he is "above" it by outliving it.
I'd like to see him outrun a Cheetah for speed or a Wolf for endurance, out swim a Great White Shark, out fly a Peregrine Falcon, out grow a Giant Sequoia, out see and out hear a Great Horned Owl, out climb a Gray Squirrel, out hop a Red Kangaroo, out smell a Turkey Vulture, out hover a Rufous Hummingbird, and out jump a Black Tailed Deer.
All the bullshit where humans label humans as being uniquely "aware", and "above" everything else, is just a way for humans (mostly religious ones) to convince themselves and other humans that "we" are special, and are "created in God's image". Animals, plants, viruses, bacteria, etc., have been around a LOT longer than humans and will be around long after humans are extinct, and "we" are hastening our eventual extinction with our ignorance and arrogance. So much for being "above" everything else.
Oh, and pav? Speak for yourself about feeling some imaginary "distinction because of sin". Man oh man, the crazy shit you god zombies come up with is mind boggling. Just because you lust for or actually sexually molest children and/or animals doesn't mean that everyone has your 'weak flesh' problem.