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Catholic Dictionary




Quality of sameness. Absolute identity is total sameness, without any change or difference; relative identity is all other sameness, which allows of numerous differences in nature and degree. Only God is and remains absolutely identical eternally. Creatures have relative identity, inasmuch as they have already changed when first created out of nothing; they further change, depending on the relative stability of their natures and (among angels and men) their persons; and they differ among themselves in myriad ways, but mainly in that each is a separate substance and, in human beings, a distinct and incommunicable individual.