I went to 12 years of Roman Catholic schooling. So I like to think I know about Catholic doctrine pretty well. I know the RC Church now says that life begins at conception. The encyclical that spells this out is called Humana Vitae IIRC (we studied Vatican II in my senior yr. in hs).
But was this always when the RC church said human life begins? The reason why I ask, is because knowledge of biology has changed throughout the ages. I remember one religion teacher in hs telling us ancient people (christians included) thought life came from the man’s “seed”–literally a little baby fully self- contained in his semen (presumably microscopic–I guess ).
I naturally don’t have a link for this. However, the classic example of this view in the Bible is found in the story of Onan, son of Judah. Please read the following passage from Genesis 38: 9-10…
Get it? He angered God because he (apparently) committed murder–by spilling his “seed” (i.e., little baby).
Anyways, I want to know the history of when the RC church thought life began in the past. And I can already hear some of you asking “When?? When??”. So I will give you three time periods: (1) The time of Jesus (when they would presumably still be using the Onan standard. (2) The time of the first Nicene Council (325AD). This is auspicious I think, because it is the time of the adoption of the Nicene Creed, etc.–in many ways the beginning of modern christianity, you could say (or I say at least:)). And, lastly 1692. I chose that year rather randomly because it was the year of the Salem Witch Trials. But according my dictionary at least, it was just before the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. But if I am wrong, then before the Age of Enlightenment, in any event. And also, I assume this was before sperm was discovered. (And again, if I am wrong [as we all are sometimes:)], then let the last time period in my examples be just before sperm is discovered, via microscope presumably.)
Thank you in advance to all who reply:)