When Does The Person Begin?

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"Each One of Us is an Icon of the Beginning"

A theory of knowledge

When St. Thomas Aquinas argued that 'Sacred doctrine' is nobler than other sciences he thereby ordered the other sciences to theology in the following way: 'Other sciences are called the handmaidens of this one'98.  Thus he seem to indicate an inseparable connection between the hierarchy of knowledge and the hierarchy of being.  This idea finds a simple support in the maxim: 'The highest does not stand without the lowest'99.

Therefore one can follow an order that begins with the fact of what exists and then proceeds through the empirical observation of what exists.  Thus a theology of the body brings together the fact of the body and its theological or 'highest meaning.'  For both are data100: both are "given".  Thus, like poles of a magnet or the fundamental note and its highest harmonic, the fact of the body and the theological sign language inherent to it, (cf. Gn 1-2) describe the range of real meaning: a range of meaning which ascends the scale from the physical, the psycho-sociological, to the spiritual.

But because 'man' is a created fact, the prior and first fact from which to begin an exposition of the created fact of man is the uncreated fact of our Creator - God: the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.  Therefore, in that the Creator made us 'in the image of God' (Gn 1: 27), then God is the necessary context in which to understand man.

98 SuTh, Pt 1, Qu 1, art 5, page 3.    Back
99 C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 1960, (London: Fount, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 1977), page 81.  Abbrev. TFL.    Back
100 Blackie's Compact Etymological Dictionary, prepared by R.J. Cunliffe M.A., LLD., and revised by R.F.Patterson M.A., D. Litt., (London: Blackie & Son Limited; and while no date is given in the text, this is an edition called the NEW EDITION), page 77.  Abbrev. BCED.    Back

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