QUESTION 98: OF THE PRESERVATION OF THE SPECIES
We next consider what belongs to the preservation of the species; and,
first, of generation; secondly, of the state of the offspring. Under the
first head there are two points of inquiry:
(1) Whether in the state of innocence there would have been generation?
(2) Whether generation would have been through coition?
Article 1: Whether in the state of innocence generation existed?
Objection 1: It would seem there would have been no generation in the state of
innocence. For, as stated in Phys. v, 5, "corruption is contrary to
generation." But contraries affect the same subject: also there would
have been no corruption in the state of innocence. Therefore neither
would there have been generation.
Objection 2: Further, the object of generation is the preservation in the
species of that which is corruptible in the individual. Wherefore there
is no generation in those individual things which last for ever. But in
the state of innocence man would have lived for ever. Therefore in the
state of innocence there would have been no generation.
Objection 3: Further, by generation man is multiplied. But the multiplication
of masters requires the division of property, to avoid confusion of
mastership. Therefore, since man was made master of the animals, it would
have been necessary to make a division of rights when the human race
increased by generation. This is against the natural law, according to
which all things are in common, as Isidore says (Etym. v, 4). Therefore
there would have been no generation in the state of innocence.
On the contrary, It is written (Gn. 1:28): "Increase and multiply, and
fill the earth." But this increase could not come about save by
generation, since the original number of mankind was two only. Therefore
there would have been generation in the state of innocence.
I answer that, In the state of innocence there would have been
generation of offspring for the multiplication of the human race;
otherwise man's sin would have been very necessary, for such a great
blessing to be its result. We must, therefore, observe that man, by his
nature, is established, as it were, midway between corruptible and
incorruptible creatures, his soul being naturally incorruptible, while
his body is naturally corruptible. We must also observe that nature's
purpose appears to be different as regards corruptible and incorruptible
things. For that seems to be the direct purpose of nature, which is
invariable and perpetual; while what is only for a time is seemingly not
the chief purpose of nature, but as it were, subordinate to something
else; otherwise, when it ceased to exist, nature's purpose would become
Therefore, since in things corruptible none is everlasting and permanent
except the species, it follows that the chief purpose of nature is the
good of the species; for the preservation of which natural generation is
ordained. On the other hand, incorruptible substances survive, not only
in the species, but also in the individual; wherefore even the
individuals are included in the chief purpose of nature.
Hence it belongs to man to beget offspring, on the part of the naturally
corruptible body. But on the part of the soul, which is incorruptible, it
is fitting that the multitude of individuals should be the direct purpose
of nature, or rather of the Author of nature, Who alone is the Creator of
the human soul. Wherefore, to provide for the multiplication of the human
race, He established the begetting of offspring even in the state of
Reply to Objection 1: In the state of innocence the human body was in itself
corruptible, but it could be preserved from corruption by the soul.
Therefore, since generation belongs to things corruptible, man was not
to be deprived thereof.
Reply to Objection 2: Although generation in the state of innocence might not
have been required for the preservation of the species, yet it would have
been required for the multiplication of the individual.
Reply to Objection 3: In our present state a division of possessions is necessary
on account of the multiplicity of masters, inasmuch as community of
possession is a source of strife, as the Philosopher says (Politic. ii,
5). In the state of innocence, however, the will of men would have been
so ordered that without any danger of strife they would have used in
common, according to each one's need, those things of which they were
masters---a state of things to be observed even now among many good men.
Article 2: Whether in the state of innocence there would have been generation by coition?
Objection 1: It would seem that generation by coition would not have existed
in the state of innocence. For, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 11;
iv, 25), the first man in the terrestrial Paradise was "like an angel."
But in the future state of the resurrection, when men will be like the
angels, "they shall neither marry nor be married," as is written Mt.
22:30. Therefore neither in paradise would there have been generation by
Objection 2: Further, our first parents were created at the age of perfect
development. Therefore, if generation by coition had existed before sin,
they would have had intercourse while still in paradise: which was not
the case according to Scripture (Gn. 4:1).
Objection 3: Further, in carnal intercourse, more than at any other time, man
becomes like the beasts, on account of the vehement delight which he
takes therein; whence contingency is praiseworthy, whereby man refrains
from such pleasures. But man is compared to beasts by reason of sin,
according to Ps. 48:13: "Man, when he was in honor, did not understand;
he is compared to senseless beasts, and is become like to them."
Therefore, before sin, there would have been no such intercourse of man
Objection 4: Further, in the state of innocence there would have been no
corruption. But virginal integrity is corrupted by intercourse. Therefore
there would have been no such thing in the state of innocence.
On the contrary, God made man and woman before sin (Gn. 1,2). But
nothing is void in God's works. Therefore, even if man had not sinned,
there would have been such intercourse, to which the distinction of sex
is ordained. Moreover, we are told that woman was made to be a help to
man (Gn. 2:18,20). But she is not fitted to help man except in
generation, because another man would have proved a more effective help
in anything else. Therefore there would have been such generation also
in the state of innocence.
I answer that, Some of the earlier doctors, considering the nature of
concupiscence as regards generation in our present state, concluded that
in the state of innocence generation would not have been effected in the
same way. Thus Gregory of Nyssa says (De Hom. Opif. xvii) that in
paradise the human race would have been multiplied by some other means,
as the angels were multiplied without coition by the operation of the
Divine Power. He adds that God made man male and female before sin,
because He foreknew the mode of generation which would take place after
sin, which He foresaw. But this is unreasonable. For what is natural to
man was neither acquired nor forfeited by sin. Now it is clear that
generation by coition is natural to man by reason of his animal life,
which he possessed even before sin, as above explained (Question , Article ),
just as it is natural to other perfect animals, as the corporeal members
make it clear. So we cannot allow that these members would not have had a
natural use, as other members had, before sin.
Thus, as regards generation by coition, there are, in the present state
of life, two things to be considered. One, which comes from nature, is
the union of man and woman; for in every act of generation there is an
active and a passive principle. Wherefore, since wherever there is
distinction of sex, the active principle is male and the passive is
female; the order of nature demands that for the purpose of generation
there should be concurrence of male and female. The second thing to be
observed is a certain deformity of excessive concupiscence, which in the
state of innocence would not have existed, when the lower powers were
entirely subject to reason. Wherefore Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv,
26): "We must be far from supposing that offspring could not be begotten
without concupiscence. All the bodily members would have been equally
moved by the will, without ardent or wanton incentive, with calmness of
soul and body."
Reply to Objection 1: In paradise man would have been like an angel in his
spirituality of mind, yet with an animal life in his body. After the
resurrection man will be like an angel, spiritualized in soul and body.
Wherefore there is no parallel.
Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. ix, 4), our first parents
did not come together in paradise, because on account of sin they were
ejected from paradise shortly after the creation of the woman; or
because, having received the general Divine command relative to
generation, they awaited the special command relative to time.
Reply to Objection 3: Beasts are without reason. In this way man becomes, as it
were, like them in coition, because he cannot moderate concupiscence. In
the state of innocence nothing of this kind would have happened that was
not regulated by reason, not because delight of sense was less, as some
say (rather indeed would sensible delight have been the greater in
proportion to the greater purity of nature and the greater sensibility
of the body), but because the force of concupiscence would not have so
inordinately thrown itself into such pleasure, being curbed by reason,
whose place it is not to lessen sensual pleasure, but to prevent the
force of concupiscence from cleaving to it immoderately. By
"immoderately" I mean going beyond the bounds of reason, as a sober
person does not take less pleasure in food taken in moderation than the
glutton, but his concupiscence lingers less in such pleasures. This is
what Augustine means by the words quoted, which do not exclude intensity
of pleasure from the state of innocence, but ardor of desire and
restlessness of the mind. Therefore continence would not have been
praiseworthy in the state of innocence, whereas it is praiseworthy in our
present state, not because it removes fecundity, but because it excludes
inordinate desire. In that state fecundity would have been without lust.
Reply to Objection 4: As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 26): In that state
"intercourse would have been without prejudice to virginal integrity;
this would have remained intact, as it does in the menses. And just as in
giving birth the mother was then relieved, not by groans of pain, but by
the instigations of maturity; so in conceiving, the union was one, not of
lustful desire, but of deliberate action."