Was death introduced into the world by the Fall, or was the first man destined to die anyway (as Part One Question 102 of the Summa seems to suggest)? Can anyone point me to any resources that discuss this issue?
As a nonphilosopher and non-Thomist, I can’t help you with question 102.
But I can offer 2 conjectures in this matter:
1). The first humans had mortal bodies like our own, that would have been kept from dying, via the Tree of Life or otherwise, indefinitely. They would not have been immortal, but saved from having to be dead.
2). The first humans had mortal bodies like our own; would have lived very long human lives, then died and transitioned gently and grieflessly to the Spiritual Body (pneumatikon soma) of everlasting life.
So while they most likely always had mortal bodies (because they were genetically the same as ours), the end result would have been nonending life.
Adam and Eve would not have died if it weren’t for Original Sin.
"They possessed the preternatural gifts of:
impassibility (freedom from pain) immortality (freedom from death) integrity (freedom from concupiscence, or disordered desires) infused knowledge (freedom from ignorance in matters essential for happiness)"
Hijacking this thread for a sec,
How about reproduction? Would they have had children?
huh? Aren’t we all genetically unique? Even identical twins do not share the exact same DNA. Phenotypically too, wouldn’t they be very different from any one of us in terms of skeletal structure, facial characteristics, overall size and skin color, blood type, hair distribution and qualities, immunological responses, etc., etc.
They didn’t necessarily have mortal bodies like our own. You notice how every baby is fresh and new; although adults, Adam and Eve’s physical state before the fall was something like that, I figure. In contrast, check what little spring your skin has; aging is programmed in the genes. I imagine that they were actually immortal in their state of grace, close to their Creator, perpetually emerging into creation, as time passed through their eternal moment. Healing this close to where God sustains the universe, where matter comes into being, would probably happen very quickly. I’m thinking it was something like that.