Other humans?

Does the Church have any teaching regarding the place of the other hominids (Homo erectus, neanderthals, Homo habilis, Cro magnon, etc.) in God’s plan of salvation? Are they to be considered the same as us, men (Homo sapiens), endowed with reason and free will, and having immortal souls (considering that they, primitive as they may have been, may have also had a sense of the spiritual by burying their dead, believing in an afterlife, having religious rituals and the sort)? Or are they mere animals as well, and thus have no capacity to sin but also have no share in eternal life through Christ’s cross? If the Church has no teaching on this, what is your opinion? :slight_smile:

there is no definitive teaching, although the pope eloquently explains how evolution would have no effect on faith. My opinion is that man is composed of soul and matter, thus whenever God breathed spirit into matter, whether it be here or even on another planet, the resulting creature can be defined as man.

Assuming they are men then they would fall under the covenant promises that Adam and Eve received just as the first man and woman, and their descendants naturally would have. If they aren’t there is no way to know if they have a promise or not, or a soul or not.

we must remember that Genesis isn’t a science book…all we are required to believe is that 2 people started the entire human race (which is supported by science)…how aliens would fit into the scheme of things is unclear when it comes to original sin, although an alien would still be a man, theologically. There is also another mystery, it seems to be important in some way that Jesus came from the line of David, how this would effect the salvation of aliens on another planet would at first seem mysterious. But then we must remember the Gentiles. Anyone who wasn’t a Jew at the time might of well been an extraterrestial, they became God’s adopted children, so it would make sense that beings from other world’s could be covered in a similiar way.

The mind does not leave fossils, and it is the mind in a human body’s head that makes the human being. Therefore we can never know for sure.

The division of species in extinct forms is somewhat arbitrary, anyhow, but if they had a cognitive mind and a head-hands-and feet body, they would have been human, ISTM.

I disagree with post #2 though. If aliens exist, they would not have a human body (because our soma is Earthly by nature), and so even possessing a cognitive mind, they would not be “man”. Your body is at least half of what makes you human.


yes the Church has a teaching, it is called Genesis, and relates that God created the universe, and eventually the planets, and from the matter of one of those planets created man. Nowhere except in figurative language does the book say how long or by what process that creation took place to the point where one human man and one human woman interacted, became parents of the human race and the event that required our salvation took place, In fact the bible states explicitly in several places that time to God is not earth time and to limit him in that way is foolish and inaccurate. Evolution is a model science has come up with to explain the time and the process, and the Church speaks neither for nor against the suggestion. And science has disagreed, waffled, changed its collective mind and is still changing today in their definition and explanation of the process so that is not a reliable guide necessarily for an absolute statement on when the human race began.

man is made up of common elements found all over the universe…as for the body of a man, a man is still a man even if he is deformed or missing limbs…before our souls are reunited with out bodies at the final resurrection, we are still considered to be a man, however what naturally makes us a man is the unification of our soul to our body, b/c the soul without the body is incomplete but still a man…the Summa Theologica talks a great deal about this…you may want to look at it where it describes the nature of man, and the final resurrection

correction- Augustine (De Civ. Dei xix, 3) commends Varro as holding “that man is not a mere soul, nor a mere body; but both soul and body.”

Nope, the soul alone would not be a human being; and even if a body is missing parts the DNA remains for those parts.

The fact that the chemicals of our being are found to a varying extent in other worlds does not change that we have an EARTHLY Body. (In the next life, it will be a spiritual body, pneumatikon soma.). An organism wrapped around a cognitive mind in any other world is very unlikely to even resemble a human being.


please show me where your opinion is supported by Catholic Teaching, it doesn’t have to be doctrine necessarily, just something to support these claims

There is no Catholic teaching concerning aliens, and there is unlikely to be unless and until they are proven to exist.

About soul alone not being a human being: if your soul alone were a human being, then your body would not be s part of you, just an add-on like clothes. But the Greek word soma, used by our LORD and translated body, means the whole person. Hebrew, used in the OT, does not even have a separate word for body.

When we receive the Eucharistic Body, we receive all of HIM.


Here’s an interesting discussion that took place a couple weeks ago about Neanderthals, and if they are human or not.


correction- Augustine (De Civ. Dei xix, 3) commends Varro as holding “that man is not a mere soul, nor a mere body; but both soul and body.”
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as you can see i already stated that in a previous post, I was referring to your idea of people having to be on earth in order to be people, there is no catholic teaching supporting that

Correct, as I said, there is “no Church teaching concerning aliens.”. Unless and until they are discovered, it’s not a Church issue.

However, as we have been debating, a human being = psyche + HUMAN BODY.

On any other planet, whatever organism formed to hold a cognitive mind would not be a human body, therefore, no human being.


i disagree, when you have your new body after it is resurrected, it will be incorruptible, impassable etc, yet it is still human…an angel can take the form of a human body as evidenced in the bible…does that make it human? no…seems there is something crucial lacking in your definition of man, however i must go for now

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