The Personal Significance of Sexual Reproduction

The Thomist 79:615-639 (2015)
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This paper reconnects the personal and the biological by extending the reach of parental causality. First, it argues that the reproductive act is profitably understood in personal terms as an “invitation” to new life and that the egg and sperm are “ambassadors” or “delegates,” because they represent the potential mother and father and are naturally endowed with causal powers to bring about motherhood and fatherhood, two of the most significant roles a person may have. Second, it argues that even though God alone can create a spiritual soul, the human parents are not just the causes of their child’s body; they are the secondary causes of the whole child. In this way, God acts as a kind of “sponsor” who enables the acceptance of the invitation issued by the parents, and he accepts it on behalf of the new human person that comes to be thanks to their invitation.
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