Human Identity, Immanent Causal Relations, and the Principle of Non-Repeatability: Thomas Aquinas on the Bodily Resurrection

Religious Studies 43 (4):373 - 394 (2007)
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Abstract

Can the persistence of a human being's soul at death and prior to the bodily resurrection be sufficient to guarantee that the resurrected human being is numerically identical to the human being who died? According to Thomas Aquinas, it can. Yet, given that Aquinas holds that the human being is identical to the composite of soul and body and ceases to exist at death, it's difficult to see how he can maintain this view. In this paper, I address Aquinas's response to this objection . After making a crucial clarification concerning the nature of the non-repeatability principle on which the objection relies, I argue that the contemporary notion of immanent causal relations provides us with a way of understanding Aquinas's defence that renders it both highly interesting and philosophically plausible

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Christina VanDyke
Barnard College

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