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View Diary: Is Heaven Populated by Blastulae? (235 comments)

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  •  Original Sin and the Limbo of Children (none)
    I'm sure there are plenty of interpretations of Original Sin out there, but one of them is this:

    Scholastic theologians believed that original sin is passed through each generation of human being, because it affects the physical and material nature of man. These theologians teach that the soul is infused by God into the fertilized egg, which "stains" (macula) the soul. The teaching of the Immaculate Conception states that this staining was prevented in the conception of Mary.

    According to this, every single blastula out there is already living in sin. So are these poor little lumps of cells condemned to hell, along with all the little babies who die before being baptized?

    Well, even the Catholic Church isn't that cruel. For a while, they had the Limbo of Children, which was neither Hell, nor Heaven, nor Purgatory. Just a place to park all these poor, innocent, unbaptized souls. But now, they have apparently come very close to admitting that they just don't know:

    The existence of the Limbo of Children is highly doubted in today's Church. Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), touched on the issue when speaking about the victims of abortion. He said that the church does not know the fate of unbaptized infants, but advised Catholics to trust in God's mercy and love.

    So the official position of the Catholic Church is that they just don't know. Quite an impressive admission on their part, actually, I thought. Of course, this is just Catholicism, not all the other versions of Christianity running around.

    As for when the soul enters the blastula/fetus/two-year old (you have to wonder, sometimes), it would make a lot more sense if it arrived after a critical mass was reached. It would solve a lot of problems, like the twin issue. Of course, then we'd have people running around trying to figure out exactly when that point was reached...

    ...which reminds me of "The Terminal Experiment" by Robert J. Sawyer, where the main character invents a soul detector and therefore answers all these pesky questions. Not a great book, but interesting. He put "soul arrival" at around 10 weeks... and cows didn't have souls, but chimps did.

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