New Blackfriars 99 (1082):440-457 (2018)

This paper will attempt an investigation of hypothetical intelligent extraterrestrial life from the perspective of the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. Section I will feature an overview of St. Thomas's relevant philosophy of human nature and the differences between human and extraterrestrial natures. Section II will, with special attention to St. Thomas's De malo, treat some possibilities regarding the need for salvation in our hypothetical species. Section III will outline relevant aspects of Thomistic soteriology, especially the reasons behind the Incarnation and the role of human nature in Redemption. Section IV will feature a critique of representatives from the two major schools of scholarly thought on this issue, showing that they either disregard the necessity of a human nature for incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ or deny the magnitude and singular importance of the Incarnation. Section V will sketch some possibilities for the soteriology of extraterrestrial life using the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas as a framework.
Keywords Aquinas  Extraterrestrial Life  Original Justice  Original Sin  Philosophical Anthropology  Soteriology  St. Thomas  Systematic Theology
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1111/nbfr.12319
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