Formation of Christ’s Body

Nevertheless the body of Christ could not becomingly have been fashioned in human nature in the same way as the bodies of other men are formed. Since He assumed this nature for the purpose of cleansing it from sin, He ought to have assumed it in such a way that He would incur no contagion of sin. Men incur original sin by the fact that they are begotten through the active human power residing in the male seed; which implies pre-existence, according to seminal principle, in Adam the sinner. just as the first man would have transmitted original justice to his posterity along with the transmission of nature, so he actually transmitted original sin by transmitting nature; and this is brought about by the active power of the male seed. Hence the body of Christ ought to have been formed without male seed.

Moreover, the active power of the male seed operates naturally, and so man, who is begotten of male seed, is brought to perfection, not at once, but by definite processes. For all natural things advance to fixed ends through fixed intermediary stages. But Christ’s body ought to have been perfect and informed by a rational soul at its very assumption; for a body is capable of being assumed by the Word of God so far as it is united to a rational soul, even though it was not at first perfect with regard to its full measure of quantity. Accordingly the body of Christ ought not to have been formed through the power of the male seed.


St. Thomas Aquinas. (1265-1274). Compendium Theologiae: Formation of Christ’s Body, trans. by Cyril Vollert. St. Louis & London: B. Herder Book Co., 1947

All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

Agere Sequitur Esse