Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Do human souls evolve?

40. The question is ever arising as to whether man appeared suddenly on the earth by a special creative act of God, or whether he evolved.

The evolution of man's body would not be opposed to any defined doctrine of the Church, though it is far from being a proven fact, and the probabilities are against it. But man as a reasoning, thinking spiritual being certainly did not evolve. His possession of intelligence introduces a new fact into the universe, for, intelligence differs entirely from material conditions and development. It is a spiritual power, and must come from the realm of spiritual being. We maintain, therefore, that the soul, to which intelligence belongs, is a special creation by God in each case simultaneously with its infusion into the material embryo as soon as that embryo is fit to receive it; and that is at the moment of conception.

41. If descent from animals is proved, would it mean that God only added the faculty of reason to the brute soul in order to make it human?

Firstly, I do not believe that the descent of man from brute animals will ever be proved.Secondly, even if it were proved, it would not mean that God had merely to endow an animal with the faculty of reason. God would have to create a human soul endowed with reason and will, and infuse that soul to supplant the existent brute soul or life-principle in the animal body selected to be the body of the first man. Personally, I do not for a moment believe that any existent animal body was chosen by God to be the recipient of the first created human soul. Such an animal body would be so unfitted for the reception of an intelligent soul that the immediate formation of a human body seems far more likely than the miraculous alteration of an existent animal body.

42. Would Eve also have attained to a certain degree of physical perfection, and then have been endowed with reason in the same way as Adam?

No. As I have said, it is not a question of superadding reason to some animal soul. That could not be done, because the animal soul is material, whilst reason is immaterial. No life-principle entirely conditioned by matter could be endowed with a spiritual faculty. For the first woman, as for the first man, God would have to create a special human soul endowed with the spiritual faculties of reason and will. This would be the case even did men prove the bodily derivation of human beings from beasts. But that is a merely speculative supposition never likely to be proved.

43. Since animals already have sensitive life in common with man, why could not God merely add reason and will?

Because reason and will are purely spiritual powers, and can belong only to a spiritual nature. Now the brute soul is not spiritual of its very nature, and it could not be the subject of purely spiritual powers. The brute soul is essentially limited to the vital functions of a material organism, and cannot transcend material conditions. But whilst the brute soul is essentially unfitted for higher spiritual operations, the human and spiritual soul endowed with reason and will can, when united with a body similar to that of animals, direct all the lower functions of which animals are capable. But we cannot argue that because a superior principle is capable of lower operations, an inferior principle is capable of higher operations. Nor can we say that the inferior principle could be endowed with higher powers, when those higher powers belong to a completely different order of being. The essentially spiritual powers of reason and will require an essentially spiritual nature-and the brute soul is nonspiritual.

44. I do not see why the soul could not evolve. If gasoline is sufficiently heated it bursts into flame. Could not matter be rarefied by some natural process until it merged into spirit?

No. Rarefaction may turn a solid into a vapor, but a vapor is not spiritual. By condensation a vaporized solid can be solidified once more; but a soul cannot be thus treated. Your analogy of the gasoline does not meet the case, for both flame and gasoline are in the same material order. But thought and matter are opposed to each other. The object of bodily sight may be a material thing; but the object of thought is an idea of the thing. Ideas are spiritualized abstractions outside the realm of matter. Two and two potatoes make four potatoes. You can put them into a pan and fry them. But you cannot put the truth that two and two make four into a pan and cook it. The idea of that truth is not conditioned by space or time; and it is universal, not individual. In what place, at what time, or what individual material beings could evolve into the truth that two and two make four?

45. Thought seems only a higher form of animal sensation, for ideas are only generalized images.

Thought is more than a higher form of animal sensation. Animal sensations may give images, but images are not ideas. An image of some object may be thrown on the retina of the eye, and a man may be able to picture that image to himself later on in his "imagination." But every such image is of some particular measurable thing. Nor could a multitude of images of a multitude of different things add up into one idea of all these things. By sensation a man secures a foundation for thought, but sense images are not thought. Reflection shows that ideas are in a different order altogether, and we rightly implore men to go by reason, and not by mere imagination. This is more clearly seen when we leave ideas of concrete things and proceed to ideas of mathematical relations, or even to ideas of ideas in reflex thought. Ideas are not material things.Now, a being is characterized by its powers; its powers by their activities; and those activities by their object. Since ideas are not material, the act of thinking by which those ideas are produced is not material; and the power of intelligence which enables us to think is not material. Therefore, the soul which possesses that intelligence is not material. All these things are in the same order, and that order is not material. God must have intervened in creation with a new and spiritual element when He made the soul of man.

46. Since man is a material being, he should share the fate of material beings.

You are thinking of man's body only. Equally I could say that, since man's soul is a spirit, he should share the immortal destiny of spiritual beings. Man is a mysterious being, blending the two spheres of matter and spirit. But, in his present state, he is an unstable composite tending to that dissolution of the union between body and soul which we call death. Whilst the body, however, dies, the soul does not. It lives on. It is of higher value than the merely material, and does not depend upon the body for its existence. Rather, the body depends upon the soul, which surpasses all material conditions and survives them. God Himself does not destroy that which carries within itself no principle of destruction. In other words, He does not create souls essentially fitted to live on forever, only to annihilate them. That would be quite opposed to His infinite wisdom.



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