In Defense of Aquinas's Adam: Original Justice, the Fall, and Evolution

Zygon 56 (2):454-466 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article, I show how traditional Thomistic claims about the creation and fall of the first human beings—or “Adam”—are compatible with the claims of evolutionary science concerning human origins. Aquinas claims that God created Adam in a state or condition of original justice, wholly subject to God and so fully virtuous, as well as internally immune to bodily corruption, suffering, and natural death. In defense of “Aquinas's Adam,” I first argue that affirming that the prelapsarian Adam was internally immune to suffering and death does not require denying that these things predated his emergence within evolutionary history, or that he would have faced real challenges posed to him by his natural environment. Next, I rebut the claim that Adam must have been spiritually and morally fragile, given the traits he inherited from his evolutionary ancestors. Finally, I dispute the claim that Adam only could have fallen if he existed in a spiritually and morally fragile state.

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Author's Profile

Paul A. Macdonald Jr.
United States Air Force Academy

Citations of this work

The significance of freedom in God’s plan.Andreas May - 2023 - HTS Theological Studies 78 (2):8.
The significance of freedom in God’s plan.Andreas May - 2023 - HTS Theological Studies 79 (2):8.

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