Evolution, Emergence, and the Divine Creation of Human Souls

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In a series of publications spanning over two decades, William Hasker has argued both that (1) human beings have souls and (2) these souls are not directly created by God but instead are produced by (or “emergent from”) a physical process of some sort or other. By contrast, an alternative view of the human person, endorsed by the contemporary Catholic Church, maintains that (1) human beings have souls but that (2*) each human soul is directly created by God rather than produced by any kind of physical process. Hasker argues that given what we know from evolutionary biology, (2*) is a much less plausible position for believers in souls to take than (2) is. If Hasker is right, then there is a serious tension between the Church’s teaching about the human person and evolutionary biology. In this article, I challenge Hasker’s reasoning. I argue that those who hold the Catholic view that each human soul is directly created by God face no more difficulty reconciling their view with evolutionary biology than those who maintain, as Hasker does, that human souls are instead produced by some kind of physical process.

Author's Profile

Christopher Hauser
University of Scranton

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