I ain't got much time for usin' this here internet these days, so we'z gotz to git right down to business. Mmmmkkk?
You and I are creatures, created beings. My very existence did not come from myself, nor do you have any hand to play in your own existence. It is God Who created you and me, and He designed the means by which we would one day come into being. (Psst . . . it involves sexual intercourse.)
God, in fact, is still very much in the business of creating; His creative work did not end when He rested on the seventh day (see Genesis 2:3). God has established the laws of nature in such a way that His wonderful creation, human kind, participates profoundly in His continuing work of creating new human beings in His image and likeness. (This is not a physical likeness, as God is spirit, but a likeness in that we can reason and will things as God does. We are capable of self-knowledge, self-possession, and self-giving. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #357.)
When a man and a woman “use the sexual urge in sexual intercourse,” they “enter as it were into the cosmic stream by which existence is transmitted,” says JPII (54). As rational beings, both a man and a woman can “consciously direct their own actions and also foresee the possible results, the fruits of those actions” (54). The CCC #357 says that human persons are capable of freely giving themselves and “entering into communion with other persons.” We are called by grace to offer ourselves in faith and love to God, a gift that no other creature on earth can do in our stead (CCC 357).
When a couple copulates, they are, in the words of JPII, “the rational cocreators of a new human being” (54). The physical union of a man and woman may beget the physical body of their own child, however, neither of them can take credit for the creation of the spirit of that child. It is God rather who “breathes” the spirit of the child into its physical being upon conception. (See CCC 366.) The Catholic Church holds that a person’s body and spirit form a unity of substance; they are not two separate things. That is dualism, and we will have none of that. ;-D
Peter Kreeft explains, in Catholic Christianity:
“Man is not merely a body (that is materialism). Nor is he merely a soul (that is spiritualism). Nor is he two beings, like a ghost in a machine (that is dualism). He is one being in two dimensions, bodily and spiritual. . .
“The human soul is not imprisoned in the body, as Plato taught, but expressed in it, as the meaning of a play is expressed in its words. And the body is not enslaved by the soul but fulfilled by it, as a beautiful piece of marble is fulfilled and brought to perfection in a great work of sculpture. . .
“The human soul is not a pure spirit, like an angel. It is the ‘form’ of the body; it is meant to inform a body. The body is not a house, and the soul is not ghost. We are not haunted! The soul is not something strange, occult, or alien. Just the opposite. It is who we are; it is our personality. God gave it to us at conception (that magical moment that was the beginning of our body, too), and we shape it through all of life’s choices” (59).
“We are neither animals nor angels. Our bodies are neither the whole of our nature, as with animals, nor outside our nature, as with angels. They are not external to us, not costumes for spirits to hide in, like Halloween masks, or instruments for minds to manipulate, like computers. We are essentially body as well as spirit.
“Why did God design us this way?
“God designed us to be the priests of the whole of creation. ‘God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him’ (CCC 358). How then do we fulfill our destiny as the priests of the whole creation?
When we offer ourselves to God, we offer up the whole universe in our body, for our body is a ‘microcosm’, a little cosmos, the universe in miniature. We are made up of star-stuff and mineral-stuff and plant life and animal sensations, as well as mind and will and heart. ‘Through his very bodily condition [man] sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the creator’ (GS 14; cf. Dan 3:57-90). In us, the floods clap their hands and the hills sing for joy (Ps 98:8). (58-9)
So what happens to a man’s spirit upon the death and decay of his physical body? Kreeft explains:
“The soul must be reunited with a new body because God made man as a soul-body unity, and God makes no mistakes. Therefore the resurrection of the body is needed to complete and perfect our human nature in heaven. (Between death and resurrection, we are incomplete.) We do not become angels any more than we become ants” (60).
We are not to despise our bodily life. Because God has created our bodies and will also resurrect them in His own timing, we should indeed hold our bodily existence in honor as the good that it is.
All this to bring it back to the point that when a man and woman conceive a child, they participate with God in the creation of another immortal soul, of a brand new human person, the incarnation of their love (well . . . hopefully). Isn’t that amazing?
Well, if you wanna find out what love's got to do with it, then stay tuned! ;-D