Sipping Scotch at Tolkien’s Table Whilst We Talked of Demons, Part VI: Return of the Angels

With Lazzari to aid our reason, we are well on our way to a complete understanding of cosmic and moral order. Including the applicability of Christian Earth Truth to the fate of the Mon Calamari. Here is what we can now be certain about: human Jesus did not save aliens. The fall of humans did not cause the fall of aliens. Mon Calamari Christ is not necessitated by the fall of the Mon Calamari (assuming it happened). If they are fallen, God doesn’t have to do alien incarnation and torture-death-temporary-ghost-mode-cloud-land-ascension to redeem them. As Lazzari tells us, it’s perfectly in keeping with His justice and mercy that He just skip the whole redemption thing and just damn the whole lot of aliens because alien Adam ate an apple. Or God could just say ‘whatever’ and auto-save the lot of them without asking for anything in return. Also perfectly in keeping with His justice and mercy. Lazzari also told us that if God auto-saves aliens He could telepathically insert this knowledge into their brains.

While Lazzari never pretends to have ruled out alien Jesus entirely (i.e. say it’s impossible) he does repeatedly insist that it’s almost certainly not gonna’ happen because it’s not fitting. What is fitting again? Why, it’s something that doesn’t have to happen but doing it just feels right when the opportunity strikes. Kind of like how it’s just fitting that duct tape be used to modify the red stop-light hand of a NYC cross-walk light:

There is nothing about the cosmic order that necessitates that a teenager arrange duct-tape over the cross-walk symbol such that an American gesture of obscenity flashes alongside the pedestrian countdown. It’s just fitting that it be done so, such that if one never sees it in one’s lifetime as a New Yorker, the cosmos feels strangely improper.

Thanks to Lazzari’s philisophico-theologico-idiotological demonstration, we now have answers to scenarios 4 and 3 and know that the fallen Mon Calamari could be saved by other means than Mon Calamari Christ.

But what about scenarios 2 and 1? To jog your memory here they are again:

1) Only humanity is fallen and the Mon Calamari are unfallen and never commit sins.
2) Only humanity is fallen and the Mon Calamari are unfallen and some commit personal sins.

What if the Mon Calamari are unfallen but still sin? As you will recall, scenarios 3 and 4 addressed a situation in which aliens possessed original sin. However, we know that not all sins are original. Some are just personal, as Lazzari told us. What’s the difference? Well, that, my dear reader, is the critical question on which scenario 2 hinges. Determining what God will do with the sinning rational soul of an unfallen alien will involve determining what constitutes an original, as opposed to a merely personal sin (I assume that there are only two kinds.)

Lazzari has told us that whether or not a species has original sin depends on whether or not the Adam of that species virtually contained the entire species within him when he committed it, we might rephrase our question as follows: what does it mean to virtually contain the entire species within oneself? We might also ask, assuming that one does virtually contain the entire species within oneself, if any kind of sin will thereby affect the species that is virtually contained therein or will only certain kinds of sins do so? In other words, if Adam didn’t eat an apple but decided to jack off in the garden one day would this have doomed the entire species? As Lazzari lets us know, the answer is actually quite simple. Original sin is a defiance of original justice.

As Lazzari says, “St. Thomas formally defines original sin as the loss of original justice, which St. Thomas states, ‘consists in man’s will being subject to God'” (445). So in other words, Justice =

And, by implication, obey those who understand how God works. Like Lazzari.

Not only is total obedience to a divine overlord who can send you to fire-land perfect justice, it’s also the gift you never knew you wanted: “Original justice not only held humanity in union with God, but it also held all of the lower powers of the soul and the body subject to the higher, rational powers of it. Thus, original justice was a gift to the entire person of Adam, body, and soul” (445-6).

But unlike that pink woolen sweater from your grandma, it’s not just sufficient to pop it out on holidays to please her while secretly wishing it were lit on fire. No, the gift of the Lord is the sweater you wear constantly on your mind and whose woolen suffocation you revel in with undying gratitude lest you get lit on fire.

However, my unaided human reason wonders, why does Eve end up getting original sin when original sin is defined as a rejection of original justice which was “a gift to the entire person of Adam, body, and soul”? One can read on and on and still Eve is nowhere to be found: “Adam’s deliberate turning away from God is a fault in him and, because he is the one from whom all subsequent human nature came, the fault is inherited by all who share that nature” (446). Considering that woman is man’s rib, then perhaps Eve is included under the sub-category of “body” in the list of Adam’s attributes and can, therefore, be treated as a constituent part of Adam like the rest of humanity which he virtually contains? After all, Lazzari tells us that all the descendants of Adam are responsible for what Adam did in the same way as “the fault of the hand when it is truly the head that is responsible” (451). Then perhaps we’re supposed to think of Eve’s fault as “the fault of the rib when it is truly the man that is responsible”?

If “the merits of the head are are attributed to the members of the body, not because of any actions of the body without the head, but precisely because they are involved in the actions of the head” such that my hand is responsible for what my brain decided to do even if my hand is a non-agential meat-tube instrumental to my will, then is the straw out of which I shoot a spitball responsible for my landing a wad on Lazzari’s back when he turns to write 3=1 on the blackboard? Or is the critical requirement that the instrument be a constituent part of the biomass of the entity that utilizes it?

As Lazzari tells us, it doesn’t matter that Eve is a rib. It matters that she’s a womb: “Aquinas relies on an incorrect medieval biology that held that it was only the father that contributed an active principle to the offspring. With current biology, it is clear that both parents contribute living and active material to offspring, but, since Eve also fell, this does not alter St. Thomas’s theological point” (446). Got it. So now that we know a child isn’t 100% produced by the male, it’s necessary to talk about Eve. As a genetically contributing procreative vessel, Eve is crucial in understanding Adam, Adam’s relationship to God, Adam’s turning from God, the attribution of original sin to Adam’s lineage, and Adam’s future redemption and bodily resurrection. As modern biology shows us, woman isn’t like a microwave into which man puts his sperm and hits ‘incubate,’ woman is more like the eggs and the oil in baking. They’re equally as much an ingredient as cake mix, even if they’re tasteless and hidden in the background so that once the cake’s done baking you forget they’re even necessary to make it.

Lazzari is a modern man. He knows this isn’t how a womb works.

This discussion of Eve’s role in procreation helps us understand what “virtually containing an entire species within oneself” means. Since Lazzari describes the passing on of original sin as a form of biological inheritance involving both parents equally, original sin must be genetic modification. In other words, the action of disobeying God by eating the apple of the knowledge of good and evil resulted in the mutation of human DNA. Thus, Adam modified the entire human genome within himself when he committed original sin. This is why it’s important to emphasize that Eve also committed original sin and, therefore, modified her own genome in the same way Adam did. Since all of humanity is the product of incestuous exponential growth, Lazzari’s concern seems to be that modern biology could undermine Christian super truth because it could create a situation in which (assuming only Adam and not Eve fell) humanity is only 50% damned if Eve contributed 50% not-damned-ness to the child.

Again, this doesn’t mean that half of humanity is damned and the other half saved, but that all of humanity would be in the theologically paradoxical state of being 50% damned. Lazzari’s thinking about biology is as follows: If Eve contributes 50% of the human “material” and Adam contributes 50% of the human “material” and Eve is without original sin and Adam has original sin, then their child would be 50% an original sinner and, therefore, 50% damned, which is a problem because you cannot have percents of binary statuses. You either have original sin or you don’t. It’s kind of like how you can’t be 50% bankrupt. You’re either bankrupt or you’re not.

To make matters worse, it seems that if humanity is only 50% damned, then it would be only be 50% in need of redemption by a man who would only have to incarnate 50% and be only 50% crucified. Ultimately, Lazzari doesn’t answer the question of what it would mean to be 50% damned since Eve fell anyway so it’s a moot point. Both Adam and Eve contributed the same genome to the offspring since they both ate an apple which modified the human genome in the same way in both of them. Thus, it turns out to not be a problem at all that modern biology has discovered that woman contributes DNA and doesn’t just act as incubator vessel for insemination. Both parents are original sinners. All offspring are, therefore, 100% damned.

Nonetheless, I’d like to add some nuance to Lazzari’s biological concerns. Assuming Mendelian inheritance for damnation and that original sin is a dominant trait, it’s actually possible for Eve to not have original sin and for all of humanity to have it if Adam is homozygous dominant for damnation (DD). In other words, if both of Adam’s alleles have the gene of original sin (represented by D) and that gene is dominant, meaning that the trait will be expressed even if it is present on only one of the chromosomes in the pair (chromosomes come in sets; you have two of each kind) then original sin will be expressed in all subsequent offspring. If Eve is without original sin, then her genotype will be homozygous recessive for damnation (dd). Thus, if we mate her with Adam, who is homozygous dominant for damnation, then the Punnett square for their offspring can be represented as follows:

Since all the children would be heterozygous for original sin, then all of humanity could be damned even if Adam were guilty and Eve perfectly innocent.

Of course, everything I’ve said applies only in a human context. As Lazzari tells us, the biology of aliens is an unexplored frontier:

The bigger problem from a biological standpoint has more to do with the causal mechanism explaining how consuming an apple leads to the modification of the human genome. And how come another kind of sin (personal sin) doesn’t modify the entire genome? I’m sure Lazzari has a good explanation for us since he’s a Catholic and, therefore, believes in science and evolution unlike those silly evangelicals who think the earth is 6,000 years old and that we descended from two people.

In any case, original sin is a heritable biological trait resulting from the modification of the human genome which Eve contributed to as well as Adam. “All of humanity is fallen because we derive our nature from our fallen first parents who lost original justice” (446).

Disobedience modifies your DNA. Got it.

But only a certain kind of disobedience because “the personal sins of parents in whom the entire human species are not virtually contained is not passed down to future generations. The reason is that personal sins are accidents of the soul that do not effect the nature of the body. While certain accidents of the body can be passed down from generation to generation, accidents of the soul cannot because the soul (as stated above) is directly created by God and suited to the human nature and body, not from the accidents of the soul of the parents” (446-7).

Lazzari is being a bit slippery here. By saying “the sins of parents in whom the entire species are not virtually contained” he kind of avoids the issue of how to tell what kind of sin is personal and what kind of sin is original. If the species ain’t virtually contained in the first place, then it doesn’t matter what the parent does now does it? In other words, Lazzari is saying sins which don’t affect the entire species don’t affect the entire species.

What we want to know is how to tell whether a sin is personal or original. Assuming the Mon Calamari species is virtually contained in the first Mon Calamari, what kind of sin can the Mon Calamari progenitor(s) commit that doesn’t affect the species virtually contained therein and why? Why and how does eating an apple modify the species’s genome when stealing a gumball does not? If Adam stole a gumball instead of the apple of the knowledge of good and evil would this have put him on God’s shit list in a personal sense while leaving the human genome intact?

Lazzari never gives us a field guide on how to identify personal, as opposed to original, sins other than telling us that the former don’t affect the entire species while the latter do. Personal sins don’t modify the genome. Original sins do. What does a personal sin look like? Why, it looks like a sin that doesn’t affect the entire genome.

Lazzari writes: “No personal sin is inherited by subsequent generations because these are accidents of the soul and do not have the power to change human nature. Even the sin of Adam and Eve is not inherited as a personal fault by their descendants, but it is rather a defect of the nature that is a fault of humanity collectively” (447). We can know that a modification of the soul in personal sin doesn’t modify the genome because the soul is created and injected into the human stuff by God immediately upon conception: “Since the human soul is immaterial (as shown above), it cannot be made from the material contributed by the parents; it must be directly created ex nihilo by God…the soul, we can now say, is created by God and infused into the human body at conception” (446).

Gotta’ love that aside “as shown above” next to the “human soul is immaterial.” Ah, classic Lazzari whipping out those three sentence proofs of immortality as a preamble to explaining cosmic order and then parenthetically referencing them later. That’s why we love you, man.

By the way, for those of you wondering what “at conception” means, I heard it from a priest with a Ph.D. in biology that the creation of the soul “at conception” occurs at the moment of cellular depolarization following contact of a sperm cell with an oocyte. I received this insight after raising the concern that, since conception involves a temporal sequence of events in which gametes fuse into a new cell and, as such, is not an instantaneous and discrete moment, I would like to know at which exact instance the soul can be said to exist or if it downloads into human matter across time. Given that “depolarization” was snapped back at me before I could get to the end of my question, there can be no doubt as to the authority of the answer.

God creates human souls on the spot and injects them into pre-existent matter. Thus, only the quality of the matter and not the soul of the parent affects the offspring. We can, therefore, understand original sin and personal sin through the Lazzari equation which was:

Alien = Alien stuff + rational soul

Original sin messes up the “stuff” part of that equation and stuff modification is passed down according to the principles of Lamarckian inheritance. Therefore, if a rational soul is injected into messed up human matter it will result in a messed up human because messed up stuff + rational soul = messed up human. Thus, original sin in aliens would be represented as follows: messed up alien = messed up stuff + rational soul. In contrast, personal sin in aliens would be represented like this:

Messed up alien = alien stuff + messed up rational soul

Since the messed-up-ness in this case is caused by the soul and not matter, the offspring, which has a totally different soul, won’t be affected. In other words, Admiral Ackbar is okay so long as his great-great-great-great-great grandfather only robbed a store but didn’t eat an apple. Get it?

A question creeps up in my unaided human reason. What role, if any, does “firstness” play in original sin? Thus far, the only definitive criteria for original sin that Lazzari has given us is that the action must modify the body, that is, the mold into which God will pour the soul. Even if Adam and Eve screwed things up immediately could, say, the Mon Calamari be going about their business propagating themselves unfallen for a couple hundred years before one of them got the idea to eat the apple on Mon Cala and, if so, would that retroactively modify the nature of all previous Mon Calamari or would fallen-ness only apply to the offspring of said anti-social Mon Calamari?

Lazzari never considers the possibility of the fall occurring several generations into an alien race, but there is nothing he says which rules it out. All that we can say for certain regarding alien damnation/salvation is this: if aliens are fallen it will be because a progenitor alien disobeyed the Lord in such a way that it modified the alien genome leaving subsequent offspring fallen. Thus, if Admiral Ackbar is the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of a delinquent Mon Calamari that rejected the gift of obedience then Admiral Ackbar will be one of the “future bodies, that they shall be such as shall certainly be pained by fire” (City of God) unless God saves his ass. However, if Admiral Ackbar’s great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather did not commit the sort of sin that modifies the Mon Calamari genome but the sort of sin that modifies only the immaterial rational soul, then Ackabr will be in the clear.

Now that we know what constitutes original sin (i.e. disobedience that modifies the genome) we know that personal sins will not be passed down to the offspring since they do not modify the genome but the soul. In other words, the children of aliens who commit personal sins will not be fallen because the pre-existent matter into which their souls are injected will not be tainted.

But what about the aliens that do commit personal sins? Won’t they still need saving even if they aren’t fallen? If Admiral Ackbar stole a gumball from Luke Skywalker how will he avoid going to fire-land? Lazzari tells us that in the case in which “the original progenitor(s) of the species did not fall, but subsequent generations of the species did sin” it “would be possible for some of the species to be in need of salvation and some to still have that right relationship with God.” Just as he earlier told us that alien Jesus would not be required to save fallen aliens, Lazzari tells us that alien Jesus is also not required to save the personal sinners among the aliens: “In the case where only certain individuals of a species have sinned, it is even within the power of God to forgive each individually, each in accord with its own repentance” (448). So maybe if you steal a gumball you have to chew the same piece of gum for hours past when it’s lost its flavor to get reconciliation with God before he lets you into cloud-land. Seems like a fitting punishment to me.

In short, if the aliens are unfallen and commit personal sins that doesn’t necessitate alien Jesus.

Lazzari ultimately drops on us a dead-pan boring-ass wishy-washy buzz-kill say-nothing conclusion: “There are any number of ways that intelligent extraterrestrial life could be saved by the infinite power and creativity of God that do not involve multiple Incarnations or the application of the sacraments to non-human beings” (456). Lazzari, you cosmic tease.

Lazzari may not have given us a guarantee that behind the cloud there lies Mon-Calamari Christ, but at the same time Lazzari has said nothing to erase that faint outline which is hope, and hope is, after all, a Christian virtue.

So let us say to scenario 2…

Just maybe.

But what about scenario 1? By now, dear reader, I suspect you will have lost interest in scenario 1. After all, it was the scenario with the least promise of alien Jesus. How could one say anything exciting about aliens utterly without sin?

Only if one doesn’t realize that the Mon Calamari being without sin means…

Well, technically speaking, he is like an angel. As Lazzari writes, “In a scenario where they are unfallen and die, it is fitting that they should be handled as the angels are. As argued above, these creatures would have immortal souls, but would never have transgressed the commandments of the Lord. The lack of a human nature does not necessarily preclude God’s grace. Since these beings would not need redemption, after death, the good disposition of their wills could be confirmed by the grace of God and they could enjoy the beatific vision as the angels do as members of the Body of Christ (but not in a sacramental way). It would be fitting that they be a part of the Resurrection of the dead at the end of time because they are essentially body-soul composites and it is fitting for them to be restored to their whole state at the Resurrection of the dead” (455).

There you have it folks. The F-word. It’s fitting for aliens to do as the angels do except that, unlike immaterial angels, Mon Calamari have bodies so when they die it’s fitting for their corpses to rot in the ground like human corpses do until human Jesus comes back and the bodies shoot restored into cloud-land when the angels sound the trumpet of the apocalypse. And if you’d like to read a follow-up paper to Lazzari’s in the same journal describing how human Jesus could be considered head of the aliens because he’s head of the angels then you can read Professor Marie George’s article here.

May the farce be with you.

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